Tales from the Trail

Admission by worried little girl may boost immigration reform

May 20, 2010

The admission by a worried little girl to first lady Michelle Obama humanized and provided a need lift to stalled efforts to fix the United States’ “broken immigration system.”

At least that’s the way one key U.S. lawmaker sees it.

USA-MEXICO/“She synthesized for all of us what the call for reform is all about,” said Representative Luis Gutierrez, chairman of the immigration task force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“It’s about family. It’s about a child. It’s about the love of that child for her mother and the fear of that child that she may lose her mother,”  Gutierrez told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Michelle Obama during a visit to a school on Wednesday addressed immigration issues after a little girl told her: ”My mom said … that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers.” When Mrs. Obama said there was a need to make sure people have the right papers, the girl blurted out, “But my mom doesn’t have papers.”

That means the little girl’s mom could be deported — just like those of countless other children, including about 4 million youngsters who are U.S. citizens, Gutierrez said. Children born in the United States are citizens even if their parents are illegal immigrants.

Gutierrez, who has long sought reform — addressing rallies, making the case for it in Congress, getting arrested with other demonstrators outside the White House — said the little girl got across the message better than he ever has.

“This will help us,”  said Gutierrez, who appeared on two nationally broadcast TV talk shows in 24 hours to discuss the little girl.  “It’s already helping us.”

Gutierrez has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat, for failing to keep a 2008 campaign promise to overhaul the U.S. immigration system.

But Gutierrez said he remains hopeful, with the help of the little girl, that Congress — somehow, some way — will muster the courage and the votes to pass sweeping legislation before the November election.

“We can’t give up,” he said.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (girl who spoke about immigration to first lady Michelle Obama)

Comments
32 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

No amnesty!!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive
 

There are so many problems that have happened in the world (and specifically America) that have needed urgent and immediate attention, and this special interest ass-wipe is an outspoken critic because Obama (sic) hasn’t gotten to his issue yet. THAT is what’s wrong with America. What happened to ‘ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country’ ?? Not that the AZ law isn’t terrible and disturbing, but come on! We just missed a depression and better than 1 in 6 Americans is under or completely unemployed! Plus, rushing through legislation like immigration is a bad idea – that’s how you get police state action like the AZ law.

Posted by CDNrebel | Report as abusive
 

When uncounted children are traumatically separated from their parents by government agents who storm in and treat people who have committed only the crime of trying to survive and make a better life for their families (which is an administrative offense & isn’t actually a crime in the usual sense & therefore isn’t prosecutable under criminal statutes) immesurable damage is done to the fabric of both our own society & the society of the home country. If you are human and you saw that little girl, you had to recognize what a travesty it is that the corporate interests of this country have intentionally created a massive system for employing and exploiting people; the governments have been irresponsible in looking the other way, and the conservatives & right wingers have used the issue to get elected or to advance their own agenda, while families are torn asunder & many people have died in pursuit of the same dream that we here take for granted. CDNrebel looks to me like the ass-wipe. What you can do for your country is a fine sentiment but our country should be be a place where decency & humanity are not dispensed with for the sake of rhetoric, sentiment, or ideology (i.e., libertarianism, conservatism, tea parties, etc.).

Posted by BareE | Report as abusive
 

Oops. I had to run before checking my comment. I intended to say that agents (from ICE or other agencies) “storm in and treat people” as criminals & often as animals, “who have committed only the crime of trying to survive…This is a problem that can no longer be swept under the rug & if anyone is willing to allow these horrible practices to continue, then they are willing to compromise more than we can afford to compromise. What is the old truism that says something to the effect that all men are slaves, as long as any man is enslaved?

Posted by BareE | Report as abusive
 

send the kids back with them. you also get people that come here legally and then just over stay their welcome, who lying on a visitors visa, or in getting married.

Posted by hppeetie | Report as abusive
 

Just because a girl speaks about her fears does not mean that the ones who break the law and enter the country illegally and work and get fake driver’s licences on stolen identities get a pardon or amnesty??
what human side? and why does the human side always have to be for people breaking the law. All have to go back to where they come from and come through the proper chanel like other lawful immgrants do. Total Lopsided opinion by people that fear being politically wrong!
Its totally unfair to the people that apply and go through a different kind of hell to come to this country legally.

Posted by Nahid | Report as abusive
 

iflydaplanes, CDNrebel this is for both of you !!!! Shame on you !!!!! I bet you have no children !!! and if you do…. God help them….. Its funny, because just like the female M & M on the comercial says… ” It’s all about working the poles.” Here you go saying that the majority of Americans aprove the ASSizona… I meant arizona law… but you have many people boycotting this racist state…. Its funny… I got a proposal from one of my customers to do some work in arizona…. and I was not really going to pay attention to the boycott…. but California looks much better, and speaking to my associates… we all agree. Immigration reform will happen… dont know when… but mark my words you racist bigggggots!!!! I have a daughter that age… It takes a real ASSSHOLLE not to cry…. shame on all of us… and dont give me that bull shit that immigrants are monsters and dont pay taxes… some are… lets get their asses deported… but lets leave people that just want to better themselves… alone, and let them get the proper documentation… so they can buy homes… contribute to society….. We are monsters….. IM JOINING THE BOYCOTT !!!

Posted by benny3 | Report as abusive
 

Wake up America
If you can’t see thru this set up you are a fool!
This child is a pawn in a political game to get citizenship for a bunch of criminals!
No clear thinking person would believe this happens on the very day Mexican president Calderon is here to ask for US citizenship for HIS citizens,give me a break.
True immigration reform would be,first secure our borders,2nd make a national ID so ONLY citzens can work,3rd steamline the LEGAL immigration process NOTHING MORE NO AMNESTY.
IN 1986 the granted amnesty to 3 million illegals,now in 2010 ther are 20 million more.
BareE maybe its time to start kicking down doors!

Posted by dagored | Report as abusive
 

The first change should be no more ‘squat & stay’ rule. Why should a baby be a citizen just because crossed the border illegally and gave birth here? I agree with the previous poster . . . send them all back! I am not against immigration; I am against illigal aliens!!!

Posted by Shadow1967 | Report as abusive
 

It is unfortunate this small child is being used, in such an aggregious manner, to further an agenda that is so wrong. Illegal immigration is a CRIMINAL ACT. There is no justification for this act since there are clear guidelines to follow when immigration is desired. We ask nothing of these people except what their own countries would demand of us if we wished to immigrate to their country of origin…the American people bear no responsibility to cure all the economic ills of other countries. To illegally sneak into a country and remain, feeding from the resources of that country, is an unconscionable act…it disrespects the country you enter, it is a CRIMINAL act, it disrespects your fellow countrymen who are dutifully standing in line waiting their turn to immigrate legally, and it is a CRIMINAL act for which there are pre-existing laws which prohibit such a CRIMINAL act. I am outraged that any parent would place a vulnerable child in the position of being an illegal immigrant, much less feed them the mind set that it is okay. I am more than outraged with Michelle Obama and the POTUS for allowing this kind of unpatriotic, publicized set up, to foster their ill conceived ideas about condoning illegal immigration…a CRIMINAL and ILLEGAL act against the laws of the UNITED STATES…if they continue to follow these kinds of ill advised and inappropriate acts which fly in the face of the will of the people…they need to be making plans for their next “gig” because it won’t be in the White House, regardless of what some of their misguided political advisors tell them. Shame on all of them…this family needs to take their child and return to their country of origin, as should all of the illegal immigrants, post haste.

Posted by ozymandias | Report as abusive
 

Well, well…. I’m sitting here reading these comments and I can’t help but say I agree with them. I mean we should send all those illegal immigrants back… starting with the descendants of all those illegals that arrived on the Mayflower! I’m sure the descendants of the natives would be very appreciative.

On another note, I just know that the source of all these venomous comments above are from loyal good kind hearted Christians following Christ’s command of “love thy neighbor…”. Kind of makes you feel proud to live in such a Christian (as they claim so often) country.

Posted by hadenough2 | Report as abusive
 

I think we need to separate the illegal immigrant issue from the secure border issue. Having spent a week in AZ along the border, things are not good. I heard very little about the immigrant or migration issue and I heard a lot about the lack of a secure border. The threat is changing.

Posted by VML | Report as abusive
 

all comments have there place..(some I highly disagree) but that’s what makes America–able to get it out–point being made..but I do think everyone should be made to carry a weapon…all legal citizens…

Posted by rgw | Report as abusive
 

@benny3, I say two words, two simple words, and you fly off the handle and label me as a child hating racist. Do you feel better about yourself for doing so?

I just hope you don’t teach your daughter that it is ok to judge people so harshly without knowing them and that it is ok for people to have opinions that might differ from hers.

I will say again, no amnesty!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive
 

It’ll be real interesting when all these God fearing Republicans get to review their journey through life with their maker. I wonder what they’ll think when they hear their words repeated back to them such as “no amnesty”!

Posted by hadenough2 | Report as abusive
 

@hadenough2.. I am not a God fearing Republican. Don’t fret though, I am sure you and benny3 will be able to come up with many more labels and pass more unqualified judgement.

When it comes time for me to review my life I will know I have stood by my convictions. One of them being no amnesty!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive
 

@iflydaplanes… You seem to have taken offense from my last comment. While it’s true I used the phrase you uttered, my comment was aimed more generally at all the people who have no compassion for others yet are always ramming their so-called morals down my throat and telling me how Christian they are; unless you live in a cave, you would recognize that as the Republican party primarily, though I’m not calling the Democrats saints by any means.

Now if you’ll reread your comment, you’ll see that your passing judgment as much as anybody else or do you fail to see that? So as long as you responded, which one is it, Are you Republican or God fearing? If you’re God fearing, are you Christian? If you’re Christian, how do you resolve Christ’s “love thy neighbor” commandment and his love for children with your “no amnesty” comment. I take it by your handle, that you earn a good living. My handle came about because I’m tired of the all-for-me-crowd which is incapable of walking in another person’s shoes. In other words, your good fortune is primarily an accident of birth. Had you been born in an impoverished country, your circumstances and hence outcome would’ve been completely different. So why not try some of what Christ was preaching and lighten-up.

Posted by hadenough2 | Report as abusive
 

While this case may well bring a tear to the eye, the fact is this little girl’s mother is breaking the law by being here illegally. While it is sometimes sad, the law must be enforced. For arguments that illegal immigrants are simple looking for a better life; I tend to agree. However, many criminals come up in the “mule trains”, and even those who come up only to work (i.e. they are not MS 13) are taking work away from Americans. My contention remains the same however; yes deport those who enter the country illegally, but also crack down on those who illegally hire them – and make it hurt.

Posted by Sam_Smilie | Report as abusive
 

There is no way this situation is going to go away easily, just because some rant and rave No Amnesty! Think back to segregation and civil rights (or look it up if you are young like me) and you’ll see the statistics piled against such reform. I’m all for sharing opinions and ideas, even those that differ from my own, but I think it’s important to understand that legalization is ultimately going to occur, and angry rhetoric is only going to prolong it, not prevent it. America is having major economic difficulties, but the undocumented workers are not at the core of it. Venomous attacks amount to nothing more than fuel for your politicians who seek reelection, and, as a metaphor, are as useful as the pumps were on the Titanic.

Posted by Christopher6 | Report as abusive
 

PS – I don’t think legalizing undocumented people who merit it is going to sink the ship. They ain’t the iceberg, people.

Posted by Christopher6 | Report as abusive
 

Fair enough.

Deport the children too. Repeal whatever misguided law it was that allowed illegal immigrants to have “anchor babies”. Revoke the their citizen status and send them south. If people can’t keep their kids here, they won’t try to come here to have them. Period.

Posted by Mike_Nub | Report as abusive
 

@hadenough2… I hold no religious affiliation so I do not speak my opinion while using any guise of the divine to justify it.

I responded to your comment because you said “I wonder what they’ll think when they hear their words repeated back to them such as ‘no amnesty’!” of which I took as a direct reference to my comment. As such it seemed to me you judged me both in a political sense and a religious sense. While I can agree with you that those of Republican affiliation are most vocal in opposition of illegal immigration, I felt I should point out to you that the blanket statement of “God fearing Republican” does not apply to me.

On a quick note my tag is simply a reference to my being a licensed pilot. It is not an implication of the living I make. On the contrary I live paycheck to paycheck. I meet my finacial obligations and that is pretty much it. But in these times of economical hardship I am grateful enough to be able to at least do that.

In the sense you speak of yes, I was “lucky” enough to be born into a middle class family in a country of opportunity as the United States of America is. I do not take that for granted. My parents worked hard to make ends meet and provide for their family. I do not have an illusions, however, that I am owed anything. I would like to think my “good fortune” is because I work for and earn what I have. Make no mistake neither myself nor my family would be able maintain what we have if we did not work for it.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive
 

What if we all stayed “on topic” and did not start attacking each other? Wouldn’t it be more constructive? I, also, think it quite a coincidence that M. Obama’s visit to a school resulted in the news article on the same day Calderon was at the White House. This administration has had supporters get ‘news’ into the media, in the past. Children often repeat what they hear at home. Perhaps the school informed the parents that it would be visited by the First Lady, etc. At any rate, why was the comment by the student so well published? And everyone should get informed that ICE does NOT separate illegal parents and minor children. They go home together. That oft repeated posting is a red herring, pushed by the open borders advocates. And what is ‘racist’ of not letting everyone who wants to, come into the country? Mexico’s immigration laws are much more severe than ours. Check it out. And Mexicans are not a “race”. They are a mix of different cultures from different nations, including Spain. Where did surnames like Martinez, Ortega, Gutierrez, Ramirez come from? And that nation was ruled by the Moors for 700 years! Yes, from dear ole Europe. And most of them are now Catholics. So again, what “race” are they? Sounds pretty much like U.S. – a melting pot of many. So because anyone in U.S. does not want illegals here, employed in over 7 MILLION jobs, while 25 million Americans are unemployed, is a reason to call them racist? Should we not care for are own citizens first?

Posted by johnsong | Report as abusive
 

11 million people are NOT JUST SOME SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP “CDNrebel”. These are families, good hard working people who have been woven into our society for years and are not hurting anyone. They actually create many businesses, restaurants. Any time that a family is destroyed…that IS URGENT!

Posted by awhitegirl | Report as abusive
 

What is this crap?…

“send the kids back with them. you also get people that come here legally and then just over stay their welcome, who lying on a visitors visa, or in getting married.

Posted by hppeetie ”

This is absurd! Not everyone is born in a country of opportunities….ones place of birth is not controllable by the one being birthed….did you choose to be born here?

there are un documented aliens who have lived here longer than you have been alive and many that have contributed more to America than the average natural born citizen.

Posted by awhitegirl | Report as abusive
 

benny 3 I got your back!

Posted by awhitegirl | Report as abusive
 

1) These people knowingly broke the law
2) They receive health services and public services for free (no taxes)

If the mom has no papers the girl can go with her, no one is trying to separate them. Send the kid as well. Then we can help Mexico develop their family culture as some have voice concern about…

Amnesty for illegals is all about one thing:

millions of democratic votes

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive
 

If these illegals all receive amnesty and earn the right to vote (the legal right to vote) our country will forever head downhill.

Thats right people, 46% of the nation pays no taxes. Add these people to that and you have over 50% who are allowed to vote and clearly have incentive to vote benefits upon themselves through liberal bleeding heart politicians. The country cannot sustain that. Oh well, every country runs its course. I just hope we get through this one quickly so we can get back to what made us great.

Hard Work, God, Freedom

Ask not what your country can do for you…
When is the last time you heard any politician say anything remotely close to that? We will become an entitlement state.

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive
 

We have politicians who never have to save for retirement. We have politicians holding hands with big shot businessmen and anyone else with power. Social Security is already in the red and Medicare is not far behind. We added more people to the Medicare rolls under the guise of Health Insurance reform. We transfered state debt to the federal goverment under the guise of Stimulus. We have bailed out anti-competitive unions. We have saved state and public service jobs who’s payrolls should be trimmed. We are trying to tax energy. We halt drilling in the gulf while tens of oil rigs move to Africa and S. America. We are sitting on our hands watching Iran and N. Korea develop nukes. We are rewarding those who broke the law. What happens when the law, any law is no longer respected? Dare I continue?

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive
 

You dang bleeding heart libs are behind all of the above and you are excited about bringing people into the country illegally? Have you ever been or heard of a continent named Africa – talk about needs, they don’t have water to drink or nets to prevent malaria!? When does the open door close, hmm? If you think America doesn’t want to help people you’re wrong. It’s that we know the country will collapse if we don’t act responsibly. This country cannot support the needs of these illegals or any one nation or any people who have needs of a better life. You scream racist! But fail to think if the opposite is even possible.

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive
 

ps Benny3 wouldn’t be the very liberal and former named BennyAcosta would it? Welcome back Benny, had to change your name did you?

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive
 

ps 2: Just as our founding fathers, I AM a God Fearing Republican, and proud of it.

Posted by BHOlied | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/