Schoolgirl puts first lady on the spot
Published 21/05/2010 | 05:00
MICHELLE Obama was put in an embarrassing position during a school visit when a seven-year-old girl said her mother was an illegal immigrant and asked if Barack Obama would deport her.
The encounter came during a trip to a primary school with Margarita Zavala, the first lady of Mexico. It was designed to promote Mrs Obama's campaign against childhood obesity.
During the visit at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School outside Washington, the girl told the first lady that her mother believed "President Barack Obama was taking everybody away that doesn't have papers".
When Mrs Obama responded that "this was something we have to work on", the girl replied: "But my mom doesn't have papers."
Mrs Obama replied: "We have to fix that. Everybody's got to work together in Congress to make sure that happens."
The US president is under growing pressure from left-wing Democrats and the Hispanic lobby to introduce a reform bill that includes an effective amnesty for illegal immigrants.
But he is unwilling to risk such a controversial move with congressional elections six months away.
The girl's question was a sharp reminder of the intensely personal nature of the issue.
Though children born in the US to illegal immigrants automatically become citizens, their parents are always vulnerable to deportation.
Jane Litchko, the head teacher at the school, declined to identify the child and said the school did not inquire about the immigration status of families.(© Daily Telegraph, London)