Feds Won't Pursue After Girl Says Mom Lacks Papers

Second-grader may have outed mother

A Department of Homeland Security official said Thursday that federal immigration authorities are not pursuing the family of a Maryland girl who told first lady Michelle Obama that her mother "doesn't have papers."

DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said in an e-mailed statement Thursday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations "are based on solid law enforcement work and not classroom Q and As."

Chandler added the agency "prioritizes criminal aliens who pose a threat to our communities."

The second-grader asked Obama about deportations when she visited the girl's elementary school with Mexico's first lady on Wednesday.

During a question-and-answer session, the girl told Obama that her mom says that "Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn't have papers."

The first lady replied that they have to make sure people living in the United States have the proper citizenship papers.

"That's exactly right," Mrs. Obama added.

"But my mom doesn't have papers," the worried girl said.

"Well, we have to work on that," Obama said. "We have to fix that and everybody's got to work together in Congress to make sure that happens."

The exchange received national attention and gave the immigration reform debate, particularly the issue of families split up by deportation, a new face -- that of a little girl.

"She is the voice of our community right now," Gustavo Torres, director of immigrant advocacy group CASA de Maryland, told News4's John Schriffen. "It's the little girl who had the opportunity to speak with the first lady and communicate to her our frustration and the pain our families face right now."

CASA de Maryland is trying to locate the girl's family and handed out fliers at the Silver Spring school Thursday.

A group called Help Save Maryland is planning to protest illegal immigrants a few blocks from the school Saturday. An organizer said the group doesn't believe illegal immigrants deserve sympathy.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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