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Ivanka Trump is suddenly very concerned about family separation

The first daughter and presidential adviser has avoided speaking out against similarly important issues in the past.

Ivanka Trump, White House adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump, speaks during an Axios360 News Shapers event August 2, 2018 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Axios held the event to discuss workforce development and 'news of the day.'  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, White House adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump, speaks during an Axios360 News Shapers event August 2, 2018 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Axios held the event to discuss workforce development and 'news of the day.' (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Speaking at an Axios Newsmakers event in Washington, D.C. Thursday, President Trump’s daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump said that the family separations that resulted from her father’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy were a “low-point” for the administration.

“I feel very strongly about [family separations] and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children,” she said. “These are not easy issues, these are incredibly difficult issues and like the rest of the country, I experienced them actually in a very emotional way.”

Ivanka’s sudden concern for family separation comes a surprise, considering the fact that she previously came under fire for tweeting a photo of herself snuggling her young son on May 27, weeks after the zero-tolerance policy went into effect.

Many criticized the first daughter over her apparent disregard for the thousands of families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border and the children who were being placed in juvenile prison facilities by themselves.

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In response to the backlash, Ivanka tweeted casually, “Focus on what is before you, on what you can control and ignore the trolls! Have a great week!”

The presidential adviser’s decision to paint the family separation issue in the past tense was also questionable, as the crisis is very much ongoing.

Although President Trump signed an executive order in June, ending the family separation policy his own administration had implemented earlier, the irreparable damage had already been done. More than 2,600 children, some younger than 5, were separated as a result of the administration’s zero-tolerance policy. And while the administration managed to meet court-imposed reunification deadlines on a technicality last month — reuniting only “eligible” families — hundreds remain separated.

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As ThinkProgress previously reported, hundreds of parents were allegedly coerced into signing documents waiving their right to reunification, and at least 431 were deported without their children. Many are struggling to find their families as a result.

The Trump administration also deemed hundreds of parents “ineligible” to see their children again because they had criminal histories or could not be located.

As ThinkProgress previously reported, many of the separated children are still being held in facilities with histories of alleged abuse or mismanagement. Even those returned to their parents have shown up at the airport with signs of neglect, abuse, or emotional trauma. And on Wednesday, immigration lawyers claimed a migrant child had died after being released a detention center in Dilley, Texas.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which runs the facility, denied the claim initially and an ICE spokeswoman later told ThinkProgress’ Elham Khatami that the agency was “looking into the report of the death after custody, but without any specifics about who this was we are unable to provide anything further at this time.”

Despite working in the White House, Ivanka has claimed in the past that she tries to “stay out of politics.” Indeed, in the past, the first daughter has been absent on many issues she claimed to care about in the past.

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The presidential adviser has championed herself as an advocate for women, but supported her father even as women accused him of sexual misconduct. While she claims to support working women and mothers, she had no words for the women suffering from poor working conditions in factories producing her now-defunct clothing line.

Additionally, rather than issuing a statement in support of or against the Trump administration’s Muslim ban, Ivanka opted to share an image on social media last January, featuring herself and her husband, Jared Kushner, smiling in formal wear, as thousands across the country flocked to airports to help Muslim travelers in legal limbo.