WASHINGTON – As President Obama and President Calderon of Mexico held a press conference in the Rose Garden on immigration reform, another newsworthy event took place at an elementary school in nearby Silver Spring, Md.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala visited the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring 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.
Immigration reform advocate Frank Sharry of America’s Voice said, “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.”
According to Sharry, 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,” Sharry said.
Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Margarita Zavala, wife of President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, take part in a “Let’s Move!” event at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md., May 19. Immigration dominated the discussion. (Chuck Kennedy/White House)