Pope Francis rounded out his D.C. visit with an immigration message from a young girl and an impromptu meeting with Little Sisters of the Poor.
5-year-old Sofia Cruz from California addressed Pope Francis regarding immigration reforms on Wednesday, during his visit to address Congress in Washington D.C.
The young girl was attending the parade organized for the Pontiff in Washington. She managed to get through the barricade set up by the police in order to get to the Pontiff herself. Dressed in a bright yellow dress and yellow t-shirt with the slogan “Pope: Rescue DAPA so the legalization would be your blessing,” it’s understandable as to why the Pope didn’t miss her.
DAPA refers to the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents; an executive action from President Obama that aims at protecting the parents of permanent residents and U.S. citizens from deportation. However, the proposed program is yet to receive approval as courts are examining its legal aspects.
As the Pope took notice of the little girl, he immediately gestured for her to come closer. The girl was then picked by a U.S Secret Service Agent, who handed her over to the Pope’s bodyguard. The bodyguard then took the girl to meet the Pope. Upon meeting the girl, the Pope gave her a hug and a Papal blessing.
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"[Immigrants] are good people, they work hard in the fields…like my dad, who I barely get to see. I ask that they stop deporting our parents because we need them to grow and be happy." is what Sofia was reported to have written to the Pope in her message.
Sofia’s parents are said to be Mexican immigrants who moved to the U.S. for work opportunities.
Visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor
Rounding out the first stop on his American visit, Pope Francis also paid a surprise visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington D.C. According to sources from the Vatican, the visit was a show of support from the Pope to the sisters with regard to their court case involving the contraception mandate. It was not part of the official schedule.
The Little Sister of the Poor had filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration concerning a mandate in 2012 that orders employers to provide employees insurance coverage for abortion drugs, birth control, and sterilization. The sisters are fighting against this mandate as it goes against their religious beliefs.