Today, while President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke about the need for immigration reform at a press conference in the Rose Garden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala visited the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD to speak with second graders. During Mrs. Obama’s visit, one of the students brought up the immigration issue. ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:
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.”
President Obama offered similar comments earlier this afternoon, voicing his unwavering support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, but also telling reporters that he needs Republicans’ help to get it done. “The political challenge is that I have confidence that I can get the majority of Democrats, both in the House and the Senate, to support a piece of legislation of the sort that I just described. But I don’t have 60 votes in the Senate. I’ve got to have some support from Republicans,” stated Obama. Meanwhile, the situation of the Silver Spring second-grader is not uncommon. According to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, the number of U.S. citizen children in “mixed-status” families (unauthorized immigrant parents and citizen children) has expanded rapidly to 4 million in 2008 from 2.7 million in 2003.