The government will not deport the mother of a worried little girl who told Michelle Obama on Wednesday that "my mom doesn't have any papers" to document her status in the United States.
The unidentified second grader had a brief, unscripted conversation on immigration law with Mrs. Obama at a Silver Spring, Md., elementary school that the First Lady visited Wednesday with her Mexican counterpart, Margarita Zavala. The subject was supposed to be kids and healthy eating, but it quickly turned to immigration and a possible reference to Congress' failed efforts to pass immigration reform, or perhaps to Arizona's tough new law.
The seven-year-old wanted to know why President Obama was "taking everybody away that doesn't have papers." Michelle Obama told her, "that's something we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers." But, the girl protested, "my mom doesn't have any papers."
The Arizona law that may have partly inspired the exchange makes it a crime in that state to be without documentation of immigration status, and it gives police the power to question anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.
On Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
said it would not move to deport the mom in question, the Washington Post
said. "ICE is a federal law enforcement agency that focuses on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes criminal aliens who pose a threat to our communities," Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler said. "Our investigations are based on solid law enforcement work and not classroom Q and As."
In an interview in Spanish after Michelle Obama's visit, the second grader said, "I'm a big girl and I don't want to be left with nothing. I could almost die. My mommy wants papers so that she can be here legally, so that she doesn't have to go to Peru," the Post reported, based on a rough translation from the bllingual Eye