Every Living First Lady Is Speaking Out Against Forcibly Separating Children From Their Parents

"Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores."

UPDATE: President Trump has signed an executive order aimed at keeping immigrant families together while they are in detention.  "So we're keeping families together and this will solve that problem, at the same we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be zero tolerance," the president said at the order signing, per CNN.

It is not immediately clear if there is a plan to reunite already-separated families.

The Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that has led to thousands of children being separated from their parents has been the subject of a widespread, bipartisan criticism.  that been the subject of much controversy. But few demonstrations were more historically significant than the 24-hour period in which every living first ladies joined forces, crossed party lines, and used their influence to draw greater attention to what is happening along America's border.

First ladies rarely speak out about political issues or voice criticism of the administration governing the country. That stopped on Sunday night when former first lady Laura Bush published an op-ed in The Washington Post. 

"I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart," Bush wrote. "Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso." 

Following her remarks, former first lady Michelle Obama retweeted her article and wrote on Twitter:  "Sometimes truth transcends party."

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton echoed previous comments she'd made on the issue on Monday night during an event in New York. She fact-checked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who cited the Bible in his defense of separating immigrant children from their parents. 

"I went to a lot of years of Sunday school. I even taught it from time to time," she said. "I've studied the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. And what is being done using the name of religion is contrary to everything I was ever taught. Jesus said suffer the little children unto me — he did not say let the children suffer."  

Then former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who is now 90 years old, released a statement.  

"When I was first lady, I worked to call attention to the plight of refugees fleeing Cambodia for Thailand. I visited Thailand and witnessed first hand the trauma of parents and children separated by circumstances beyond their control," the statement read. "The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents' care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country." 

Even first lady Melania Trump spoke up against a policy pursued by her husband's administration.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

This story has been updated to clarify that  Clinton had spoken out on this issue prior to the 24-hour period referenced.

Cover images via Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com,  MediaPictures.pl / Shutterstock.com, a katz / Shutterstock.com.

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