Education was at the top of the agenda for First Lady Michelle Obama during her swing through the city Thursday, even when the audience was potentially more interested in another area of domestic policy. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
In recent months, it has become her signature issue: encouraging kids to pursue their education beyond high school, a theme First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted during Thursday morning's visit to the educational nonprofit Global Kids Inc. and during her afternoon remarks at the annual convention for LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens.
"Our young people must understand that a college degree or some kind of professional training is an absolute necessity," Obama said.
However, the first lady, who was introduced by Jennifer Lopez, seemed keenly aware that LULAC, which bills itself as the oldest and biggest Latino civil rights organization in the country, might be more interested in a different policy issue currently roiling Washington.
"With a broken immigration system hurting so many of families and neighbors, some of you may be wondering why I decided to focus on education today," she said.
She said we must tackle all these issues at the same time, and offered this: "Make no mistake about it. We have to keep on fighting as hard as we can on immigration. And as my husband has said, he's going to do whatever administrative action it takes to fix this broken system."
Still, she did not directly reference the current crisis involving thousands of migrant children. LULAC officials said in a private meeting before the speech, they expressed their view that the children should be treated as refugees.
"We have stressed that to the White House. We've communicated that to the First Lady. She assured us that she was going to take that message back to the president," said Luis Torres, policy director at LULAC.
As is often the case when the Obamas are in town, the first lady, after leaving the LULAC convention, made one last stop at a Democratic fundraiser before heading home to D.C.