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First Lady Melania Trump Visits Child Detention Center in McAllen, Texas

She 'arrived to take part in briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for children,' said her office in a statement

Melania Trump paid an unannounced visit to the U.S. southern border in McAllen, Texas, on Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep illegal immigrant families together as they cross the border and are processed.

“First lady Melania Trump has arrived in Texas to take part in briefings and tours at a nonprofit social services center for children who have entered the United States illegally and a customs and border patrol processing center,” her office said in a statement.

“Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social services providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families.”

In the extraordinary visit, shown live on television, the first lady addressed some of the staff and workers at the center. “I thank all of you for the heroic work you are doing,” she said.

Last Sunday Melania Trump spoke out against the child separation issue at the border, saying that she “hates” seeing children taken away from their parents.

On Thursday, she had “boots on the ground” in Texas. “She wanted to see everything for herself,” Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told the reporters who were traveling with her, Bloomberg reported. “The images struck her as a mother, as a human being.”

The children at the center are between 12 and 17 years old.

“I am looking forward to seeing and meeting with the children,” the first lady also said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order ending the policy of separating immigrant children and adults who cross the border illegally. Under the administration’s zero-tolerance policy, all adults caught illegally crossing the border will be prosecuted.

Related: Here’s the Key to Making Trump’s Immigration Executive Order Work

The first lady will visit another facility today, Fox News reported, as the administration reviews the intake procedures.

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor with LifeZette. Follow her on Twitter.