A second-grader stole the show today, even as U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon held a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House.
While the two Presidents spoke about the need for immigration reform and about concerns over Arizona's harsh new law – without saying anything new or different – down the road in Silver Spring, Maryland, First Lady Michele Obama and Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala visited an elementary school to speak with a class of second graders.
ABC News’ Karen Travers reports what happened 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."
Watch the video of the exchange:
Sadly, this brief exchange says more about the current state of the immigration debate than the remarks of the two Presidents in the Rose Garden today.
The little girl wants her mother to have papers, but hears that the President is sending people away if they don't.
In fact, 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 common-sense comprehensive immigration reform stalled in Congress, 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 Act 5" 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.
How long until right-wing bloggers dig up this girl's identity, demand that she be deported, and report her family to ICE?
A snippet from the Washington Post's article:
A Montgomery County school spokesman said the district will not reveal the girl's identity.
Dana Tofig, spokesman for the Montgomery schools, said school officials are prohibited by law from asking students about immigration status or divulging such information to others. Public schools are essentially required to serve all students within their boundaries, regardless of legal status.
"We won't help identify the kid. We won't help identify the parents," Tofig said.