01 June 2010

Peruvian child becomes symbol of US immigration reform for undocumented migrants

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Seven-year-old Daisy Cuevas has become an unlikely symbol of US immigration reform for undocumented migrants.

US immigration

US immigration in the spotlight thanks to a little girl's question.

Daisy, a US citizen by birth, innocently placed her undocumented Peruvian parents in the spotlight during a visit by US First Lady Michelle Obama’s to her elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland.

"My mom says that Barack Obama is taking away everybody that doesn't have papers," Daisy told Michelle Obama.

"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," Michelle Obama replied.

"But my mom doesn't have papers," said Daisy.

The family later went into hiding, fearful of being deported, although the US department of Homeland Security said it is not pursing Daisy’s parents. US immigration investigations, the department said in a statement, were based on making the law is followed and “not on a question-and-answer discussion in a classroom”.

The TV appearance made Daisy a voice of the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the United States illegally. An estimated 1.5 million Peruvians currently live in the US, with three in five estimated to be undocumented or in the process of legalizing their status.

"I'm really proud that a young girl of Peruvian origin is highlighting the enormous problem with Latin American immigration in the United States," Peruvian President Alan Garcia told reporters last week.

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