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Rachel Osborn knows kids who slept in the immigrant detention centers in Texas that have dominated recent headlines.

"We have kids who will say that was the worst part of their journey," Osborn says. "They were traveling for weeks and the hardest part was being in this freezing cold room where, you know, they were fed a cold sandwich and had a thin blanket to shiver under."

And they had no parent or caregiver to comfort them and make them feel safe.

It was on a family trip to Japan when Jui-Ting Hsi's patience with her father Kuo-Jen Hsi reached its limit.

The family, on vacation from Taiwan, had filed into a characteristically silent and crowded subway car in Tokyo when the family patriarch began speaking loudly, attracting a few glances from other passengers.

A former senior U.S. official from the Obama administration is warning that Russian efforts to influence U.S. politics have been so successful that other U.S. adversaries like China are beginning to emulate them.

Victoria Nuland told the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday, "Other countries and malign actors are now adapting and improving on Russia's methodology, notably including China which now runs disinformation campaigns and influence operations in Taiwan, Australia and other neighboring countries."

Updated 6:15 p.m. ET

There was a private lobbying force behind President Trump's change of heart on his controversial policy that resulted in thousands of family separations at the southern U.S. border: first lady Melania Trump.

A White House official confirmed to NPR's Sarah McCammon that Mrs. Trump pressed her husband to act to keep undocumented immigrant families together.

The battle lines are being drawn five months ahead of the midterms, with more Americans than at any point in at least the last two decades saying they're enthusiastic about voting — and record numbers of voters say President Trump and which party controls Congress are big factors in their vote, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.

Embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — and was targeted by protesters angry over the Trump administration's border policy that has separated children from their families along the U.S. border with Mexico.

"We're in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's dinner at MXDC," the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America wrote in a Facebook post about the confrontation. "The irony isn't lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant."

Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully this spring, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Many pediatricians have expressed concerns about the effects this traumatic event could have on those children.

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Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end his controversial policy that has resulted in thousands of family separations and brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want," Trump said Wednesday morning, when he announced that he would sign the order.

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