WASHINGTON - One of the memorable moments from Pope Francis’ visit to D.C. was the video that touched the hearts of many during Wednesday’s parade.
Clutching a yellow T-shirt and a note about immigration, 5-year-old Sophie Cruz made her way through a security fence. When Pope Francis motioned to her, she let a security agent carry her to meet him. The pope gave her a hug and a kiss, and she gave him the T-shirt and note.
Many people have wondered whether the moment was planned, and the answer is yes. Cruz traveled from California to D.C. with her father and an immigration reform advocacy group.
"Did you know she was going to do that?” FOX 5’s Marina Marraco asked.
“I didn't. I don't think anybody really knew she was going to do that. So, I think it was a wonderful thing and very poignant,” said U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley, a Democrat from California.
Brownley personally invited Cruz and a guest to watch the pope as he addressed a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday. Brownley says she received additional tickets for guests roughly 10 days before the pope’s visit to the District.
“Apparently, she had tried it once before at the White House, the day before, and it didn't work there. The fact that her letter that she handed to the pope was fairly well-written and not that of a 5-year-old, you start to think more things about it,” said political strategist Mike Lane.
Cruz, her father and a few dozen others from an immigration reform advocacy group flew from California with the hopes of seeing the pope and delivering a message. Cruz was born in America, but her parents, who work in factories, are here illegally.
"I think it came from the heart. This is a little girl who is worried about being separated from her parents and grew up in a Catholic family and the idea of the pope as a savior perhaps in all of this, I think it was very sincere and came strictly from the heart,” said Brownley.
Although this moment has made its way around the world, political strategists say the moment will remain just that – a moment. We find ourselves in the thick of a presidential race, and there will likely be no firm stance on immigration reform until after the election.