Mrs. Trump, who traveled to Texas with Alex Azar, the health and human services secretary, was also scheduled to visit the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center, which had became a particular subject of scrutiny this week after a government video emerged showing families sitting in cages clutching mylar blankets. But her visit had to be cut short because of bad weather.
A senior administration official, who insisted on anonymity, told reporters on the first lady’s plane that only six of the New Hope facility’s 55 children had been separated from their parents, and the rest arrived as unaccompanied minors. At the facility, officials told the first lady that the separated children could speak to their parents twice a week.
Mrs. Trump also asked about the condition of the children when they arrived: “So when the children come here, what kind of stage, you know, physical and the mental stage” are they in when “they come here?”
She was told by an official that children often arrive distraught, but soon settle in.
“It’s a process, yes,” Mrs. Trump replied. “But I’ve heard they’re very happy. They love to study. They love to go school.”
In recent days, according to her office, Mrs. Trump was upset by news reports about families being separated at the border and helped persuade President Trump to take action to stop it. Amid the din of voices who tried to persuade him to change his mind — including members of Congress and his oldest daughter — the first lady’s concern seemed to stand out.
“My wife feels very strongly about it,” Mr. Trump said as he signed an executive order on Wednesday to stop the separations. But Mr. Trump, who faced a growing outcry from the public and from Republicans and Democrats in Congress, did not say whether her urging had swayed his decision.
In any case, Mrs. Trump had planned the trip before the president signed the order: “I don’t know what she knew” about the timing, Ms. Grisham said. “She knew what she wanted to do, and she told us.”