May 19th, 2010
03:51 PM ET
11 years ago

Second grader grills Michelle Obama

Washington (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama faced a tough policy question Wednesday from an unlikely source - a second-grader.

During a visit to a Washington-area school with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala, a student concerned about her mother's legal status asked Michelle Obama about her husband's immigration policies.

"My mom said, I think that she says that, Barack Obama is going to take away everybody that doesn't have papers," the young girl told the first lady.

The unscripted moment was sandwiched between examples of Michelle Obama's signature policy initiatives - a lesson on healthy eating and an exercise session - and forced the first lady to walk the fine line of immigration reform policy language.

"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," she said.

The girl replied, "But, my mom doesn't have any."

"[W]ell 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," Obama said before moving to the next question.

Dana Tofig, a spokesman for Montgomery County, Maryland, schools, said the district would not identify the student and does "not ask about the immigration status of our students and their families."

"There was a Supreme Court decision that makes it clear that if there's proof of residency in the county, then we educate the child," he said.

"And we're not going to identify the student or her parents," he said. "We protect the identity of our students."

The exchange happened in a school gymnasium, but immigration took center stage in Washington on Wednesday as President Obama welcomed his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, to the White House.

Both leaders used the occasion - the fourth time they have met for bilateral talks - to take sharp aim at Arizona's controversial new law meant to crack down on illegal immigrants. Calderon characterized the measure as discriminatory; Obama called it a "misdirected expression of frustration."

Obama also repeated his call for comprehensive immigration reform.

Updated: 8:52 p.m.

Filed under: Immigration • Michelle Obama • Popular Posts
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. bill

    good answer mchell.god its nice to have intelligent in whithouse again.dont think she would be reading my pet goat.while our nation was under attact. SEND THE KIDS MOM HOME.PERIOD WHAT PART OF ILLEAGEL DONT OUR GOVERNMENT UNDERSTAND.

    May 19, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. John

    Only in America ..... where liberals are fighting to "legalize" illegal immigration.......

    May 19, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Mindy

    Poor kid.. I don't what to do about the tons of illegal immigrants in this country who have families. The kids didn't do anything wrong, their parents did when they entered the country illegally, but you can't really punish the parents without punishing the kids, too. Still... the parents are criminals....

    May 19, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Jeanne

    Calderon characterized the AZ law as discriminatory??? I'd love to hear his description of his own immigration laws in Mexico – what a hypocrite !!!

    May 19, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. dee cee

    Replies Mrs Obama: "Well then your mommy needs to get some papers because she is breaking the law"

    May 19, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Chris

    You have no idea how much people are laughing at us outside of this country. Immigrants, legal or illegal, help to grow the economy, not weaken it. Throwing out all of the "illegals" would speed up the inevitable shift of global economic power to China. Ooooo, racism vs. power loss, it's like Sophie's Choice for Americans...

    May 19, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Hmmm – wonder why Bush/Cheney didn't do anything?

    Maybe their hired help in WY and TX are cheap illegals.

    May 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Victim of GOP Taliban

    The only reason why George Bush and McCain (pre-Tea Klux Klan) wanted the amnesty bill is because their big $ lobby constituents wanted it to exploit cheap labor. Bush personally met with construction industry lobbyists the same day he promoted amnesty.

    Sorry little girl but if your mom doesn't have papers you should go get your education in her country. It's not fair that legal citizens can barely fit into jam packed classrooms. We can't afford to keep subsidizing illegal aliens for the millionaires like Mitt Romney and McCain that use them for cheap slave labor on their dozens of houses – so many houses can't remember.

    May 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. sonny chapman

    Repubs. are SOOOO concerned about life while it's still in the womb. Once life emerges out of the womb, they lose interest. Maybe because it's so easy to holler "Pro-Life' at their Conventions, but it gets a lot tougher when dealing with the real things–dark skin, warts & all.

    May 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Ace Frehley

    Poor Buffalo Bill,
    Poor misunderstood Buffalo Bill. Apparently you havent realized that you LOST the election. Unless, you are like the rest of the right-wing and only likes democracy when the numbers sare in your favor – otherwise you call it tyranny. Too bad. MAybe more education will help that.

    May 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. beth

    rather than kick out the illegals, can't we just kick out the stupids? people are cruel. thank God my 6 year old is brighter and more compassionate than most of the conservative creeps that commented on this article

    May 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. KathleenVS

    Just for the record, I am a 60 year old WASP grandmother. I find the ignorance and hate expressed here astounding. Unless you happen to be a Native American, your ancestors weren't legal either. It's too bad the Native Americans didn't send your ancestors back, and then we could be spared your ignorance, bigotry and selfishness.

    May 19, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Diogenes

    Great scripting.
    So where is the interview box volume set where 847,926 kids asks Michelle why their high school graduate only parents with citizenship can not find a job even one the libtards say Americans would not do and they have to stand in the food distribution center for donated food to take back to their freeway overpass home because criminals broke into this country and stole their kids.
    Barry should have asked Caulderon for a copy of Mexico's immigration law to use as a template.

    May 19, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. The Rev'd Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

    Behold the hate and racism of the Republicanische Bund on display, in 3-D and living color.

    The girl is SEVEN YEARS OLD. Do the Republican'ts REALLY want to make their point by wreaking vengeance on TODDLERS?

    Or do they want to separate toddler from their parents just because of their skin color?

    Give universal amnesty ONCE, close the borders, and be DONE with it.

    May 19, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Kelly

    Americans are so quick to lambaste immigrants. Remember folks, at one time, we were all immigrants too, and we certainly didn't ask permission of the natives.

    May 19, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Stacie

    We, Christians, need to ask ourselves one question. WWJD?

    May 19, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. wolfewalk

    If conservatives were serious about illegal immigration, they would penalized employers who hire this cheap labor. Fine these companies large sums of money for each illegal employee, then this would be a non issue in this country....

    May 19, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Matt May 19th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

    She should have asked about President Obama's papers.

    She should have asked to see SENATOR McCain's papers, atleast PRESIDENT Obama was born on U.S. soil, not on a floating piece of metal with water under far away from American soil. I don't care if being born on a U.S. ship constitutes being born in America, Obama's more American-born than McCain in my book.

    May 19, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Nando

    I can feel the hate in this room its a shame !!!

    May 19, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Pistol

    Don't lie to the kid....tell her the truth. "Your mamma is a criminal and should be deported. You shouldn't be sitting in this school wasting taxpayers money. Your mamma and her kind are ruining this country. You should go home and tell her she's a bad person and needs to go back to whatever 3rd world cest pool she crawled out of in the first place."

    May 19, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Houston Mom

    Yeah we see you "conservatives" on here expressing your "compassion". You may bark loudly, but you are not now, nor will you ever be the majority. You see the majority in this nation may be quiet, but we carry a big stick, and we get a blast out of beating down bigots like you with it every chance we get. Tea Bigots = GOP = Good Old Prejudice.

    May 19, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Ace Frehley

    Dear John,

    As a law-abiding citizen, I am sure that you understand that reform and uniform enforcement of a legal system is a difficult and expensive proposition. Perhaps you and the Tea Baggers would prefer to become traitors to American values and circumvent the rule of law? Typical attacks on the left. How about working to make things better for American citizens rather than just whine and complain about liberals? OR is this above you?

    May 19, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. cath

    What part of "illegal" do illegal immigrants and those who love them not understand ? Look it up in Websters, they are breaking the law, aka criminals. Mommy should have taught her little girl to keep her mouth shut. But I think it was a plant, smoke and mirrors like everything else about this so-called transparent presidency. What a big joke it all is. Please make this guy a one termer before he sells the country down the tubes for good !

    May 19, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Andy

    Mrs. Obama handled the situation in the proper manner. The breaking of laws should be explained to the mother, not the second grade child who isn't equipped to have an adult discussion. It would have been a classless act for her to tell a child that her mom is going to be "heaved back across the border". What is wrong with you people?

    May 19, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Randyman

    Increase the quotas so more people can come here legally. Then there will be fewer illegal immigrants.

    May 19, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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