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Peru: Schoolgirl Questions US First Lady About Immigration Reform

On May 19, the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama and Ms. Margarita Zavala, wife of Mexican President, Felipe Calderón, visited an elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland. At one point in the visit, a 7-year-old second-grader named Daisy, who is of Peruvian descent asked Ms. Obama a question that was captured on video by the news media. As detailed by the Washington Post, the girl wanted to know why the president was “taking everybody away that doesn't have papers”. And Ms. Obama, with the first lady of Mexico by her side, told the girl: “That's something that we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers”. And then the girl replied that her “mom doesn't have any papers”.

The girl has prompted Peruvian bloggers to talk about her and about some immigration issues facing their community in the United States.

The blog Holismo Planetario en la Web [es] calls Daisy “The face of immigration in the United States”:

[…], la niña de 7 años que le preguntó a la primera dama de Estados Unidos, Michelle Obama, qué se podía hacer para evitar el temor de su mamá a ser deportada al Perú por ser indocumentada, es considerada la “vocera” de más de 12 millones de inmigrantes que viven de manera ilegal en el país. Su inocente comportamiento ha despertado un interés inusitado en la prensa estadounidense por el espinoso tema.

The 7 year-old the girl, who asked U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama what could be done in order to avoid the fear her mom had of being deported back to Peru as an undocumented immigrant, is considered the “spokesperson” for the more than 12 million immigrants that live illegally in the country. Her innocent behavior has aroused an unusual interest in the U.S. press regarding this thorny subject.

The blog Libretita de Notas [es] has another perspective of the development:

Para algunos es una heroína, para otros la hija de una pareja de peruanos que ingresaron ilegalmente a Estados Unidos y que, sin permisos de extranjería suficientes, deberán ser deportados cuanto antes. Lo cierto es que la pequeña Daisy Cuevas también ha puesto en debate una regla de oro del periodismo: aquella que señala que la identidad de los menores de edad no puede revelarse, ni siquiera cuando estos se convierten en protagonistas de la noticia.

[…]

¿Sin embargo, qué pasa cuándo la protagonista pone en aprietos a la esposa del presidente de Estados Unidos al preguntarle si es cierto que su esposo no quiere aprobar la reforma migratoria que permitiría a sus padres quedarse en Norteamérica y no ser deportación por indocumentados?

To some people, she is a heroine, to others, the daughter of a Peruvian couple that entered the United States illegally, and without residence permits, must be deported as soon as possible. The thing is little Daisy Cuevas has also opened up the debate about a golden rule in journalism: the one that says that the identity of minors cannot disclosed, not even when they become the spotlight of the news.

[…]

However, what happens when the main figure puts the wife of the President of the United States in a tight corner by asking her if it is true that her husband does not want to approve the immigration reform that would allow her parents to stay in the US and not being deported for [being] undocumented?

Photo of Immigration Rally by Señor Adventure and used under a Creative Commons license.

In a blog post at ABC News, there are various comments against the situation of Daisy's parents:

PBW said: Hi!! I am an American and my husband is British. He came here legally. I think all immigrants should follow the rules like my husband did. It's not fair to children but that is how it is.

Kim said: As far as the little girl goes, Her mother has been here illegally for 7 years, why didn't she file her papers.

A Wanderer said: If we did not hire them at depressed wages, they would stop coming.

According to DePeru.com [es], about 3 million Peruvian citizens live abroad: 52% of them in the United States, 27% in other countries of South America, 13% in Europe and 8% in Asia. The same site states that most of the Peruvian citizens living in the United States are there illegally working in manual labor jobs.

As Herberth Castro Infantas [es] concludes his most recent post in his blog:

Todos esparamos que este clamor no sirva de pretexto para tomar represalias con su familia ni con los millones de indocumentados.

We all hope this clamor won't be used as an excuse in retaliation against her family nor the millions of undocumented immigrants.

3 comments

  • Pfff…very difficult subject. I believe Michelle Obama reacted well, and I hope that they will really do something else about illegal immigration’s laws…it is only one piece of paper in the end!

  • Mexico swamps the U.S. immigration system, making it that much more unfair for people from other countries.

    It’s too bad that the U.S. still insists on treating failed dependent Mexico as a separate country, and its totally corrupt govt. as legitimate. Of course it’s not, so dealing with them will only end up in them asking for money that will line the officials’ pockets, no wonder they’re lining up to come to the U.S. and follow Calderon’s footsteps. Instead of inviting their leader to spit in their faces while they cheer, Congress needs to start working directly with the Mexican people to dissolve their govt. and country in favor of statehood and full phased-in citizenship, making the unsealable border go poof as it expands to the Mexican coasts, opening up a new growth area for the U.S. with a New Calif., New Ariz., New Texas, New Fla. etc. that will create millions of new jobs for all 414 million Americans. See how it can be done at http://go.to/megamerge

    • I believe Mexico is not a “failed dependent country”, as the other comment mentions. As any nation, it has it’s own problems but it is not easy to find a solution from one day to another. I think Calderon’s doing a good job, as dealing with drug cartels is something no other president ever dared to do.

      I am talking as a Mexican citizen, and I would not like to become a part of a neighbor country, thanks!

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