A Los Angeles-based pro-illegal immigration group trained the five-year-old girl who approached Pope Francis during his parade in Washington for a photo-op to promote amnesty.
Sophie Cruz, 5, who hails from suburban Los Angeles, according to the Sacramento Bee, managed to get close enough to the Pope’s modified, open-air Jeep for Francis to summon her to approach him. They traded favors; she wrapped her arm around his neck while he kissed her and blessed her.
Sophie would not leave the Pope until she handed a letter and T-shirt to his bodyguard. The letter revolved around her fear that illegal immigrant parents could be deported; the T-shirt read “Rescue DAPA,” the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents.
DAPA, which would permit illegal immigrants to seek permission to legally work and stay in the U.S., was blocked by a judge in Texas after 26 states protested against it.
The affair was stage-managed by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, which trained Sophie for a full year before the meeting
Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition told the Associated Press, “We planned to do this from the moment we learned he [the Pope] was coming to the States. We have been working for a while now trying to sensitize the American public that dealing with immigration is not just dealing with the people who came in without proper documents but that we also have…countless children whose parents are undocumented.” He added, “We have been looking for children to make the case that we as adults have been making for years,” he said.
Despite the words used in the letter, such as “galvanizing,” Gutierrez insisted Sophie wrote the letter herself and her words to the AP had not been scripted, saying, “She didn’t have anyone coaching her. She just spoke from her heart. It all came from her.”
The Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, which is partly comprised of members of the Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, initiated a similar action last year, training 10-year-old Jersey Vargas to meet Francis in Rome, where she asked him to pressure Barack Obama to release her illegal immigrant father from a Louisiana detention center.
Gutierrez was once accused of “trying to get votes for the Democratic Party” by Ron Gochez, of the Southern California Immigration Coalition, who felt Gutierrez was not radical enough.
Cruz found a sympathetic ear in Francis, who lectured Congress, “…when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our ‘neighbors’ and everything around us.”