The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Earls
(202) 494-8555

First Lady Michelle Obama Questioned by Second Grader Worried About Her Mom's Immigration Status

Clearly, the Most Important Statement of the Day on Immigration Reform


Today President Obama and President Calderon of
Mexico held a press conference
in the Rose Garden. They both spoke about the need for immigration
reform and about concerns about the new anti-immigrant law in Arizona.
Important but not especially newsworthy.

Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle
Obama and Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala visited the New Hampshire
Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD to speak with second
graders. According to
Karen Travers of ABC News, the following occurred when a young girl
spoke up:

The student shyly
raised her hand and said, "My mom ... she says that Barack Obama is
taking everybody away that doesn't have papers."

Mrs. Obama replied:
"Yeah, well that's something that we have to work on, right? To make
sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers, right?
That's exactly right."

The girl then said
quietly, "But my mom doesn't have any ..." and trailed off.

Mrs. Obama replied:
"Well, we have to work on that. We have to fix that, and everybody's got
to work together in Congress to make sure that happens. That's right."

See the video here.

According to Frank Sharry,
Executive Director of America's Voice, "This heartbreaking exchange says
more about the current state of the immigration debate than the remarks
of the two Presidents in the Rose Garden. The little girl wants her
mother to have papers, but hears that the President is sending people
away who don't have papers. She speaks the truth. The Obama
administration is on track this year to exceed the deportation levels of
the Bush administration. Most of those deported are not criminals but
ordinary immigrants whose only violation was to come to this country
without papers to work hard and seek better lives. With comprehensive
immigration reform stalled, and Arizona taking matters into their own
hands, this young girl gives voice to the growing frustration and
desperation in immigrant families and communities. Like the DREAM
students who earlier this week staged a sit-in in John McCain's office,
young people are increasingly underscoring the dysfunction and
consequences of our broken immigration system and showing how
Washington's failure to address the unstable and unsustainable status
quo is becoming a moral and political crisis."

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.