Second grader questions first lady over immigration

May 19, 2010 11:30:44 PM PDT
First lady Michelle Obama was put on the spot on Wednesday. Now, a little girl's concern about her mother is shining a light on the high stakes immigration debate.

"My mom doesn't have papers," said a little girl.

"Yeah, well we have to work on that. We have to fix that," said Michelle.

One immigrant rights attorney estimates there are 12 to 15 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. She says most are in mixed families, meaning the children may have been born in America and are legal, while their parents aren't and could face deportation.

"We know that we are living here illegally and I crossed the border illegally," said one woman.

That woman asked ABC7 to hide her identity. She says she can relate to a young girl's conversation about her mom with the first lady.

"She says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers," said the little girl.

"Yeah, well that's something we have to work on, right, to make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers, right," said Michelle.

"But my mom doesn't have papers," said the little girl.

When asked if the Bay Area woman was asked if she was worried about being deported, she said, "Yes because I can't see my life without my children in it."

This drama plays out while the White House is hosting Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Wednesday, President Barack Obama condemned Arizona's crackdown and said he needs Republican help to pass immigration reform.

Immigrant rights attorney Renee Saucedo wants that to include amnesty.

"That people are able to apply, you would have reasonable requirements, time requirements, and so on and so forth. That way people are able to gain their residency and are able to keep their families together," said Saucedo.

On the other side, Rick Oltman, from the group California For Population Stabilization, wants to see the borders secured to guard against what he calls the negative effects of illegal immigration, including crime and a drain on resources. He believes the Mexican president's visit and Mrs. Obama's classroom discussion were orchestrated to encourage illegals.

"This is the same kind of talk that we've heard from Washington since the mid 90s. None of it is designed to result in law enforcement or increase border security. It's all designed as an encouragement to keep the traffic flowing in," said Oltman.

Mexico's president Calderon will speak before a joint session of Congress Thursday morning.

Not talking anymore is anyone at the Maryland school visited by the first lady. The principal tells ABC News the little girl's mother is now afraid and there is no further comment.


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