A 5-year-old Los Angeles girl delivered a T-shirt with a message to Pope Francis Wednesday as his motorcade traveled in a parade from the White House to a midday prayer in Washington, D.C.
Sofie Cruz was part of group from La Senora Reina de Los Angeles Church at Placita Olvera in Los Angeles that traveled to Washington, D.C. for Pope Francis' first U.S. visit. Sofie, wearing a brightly colored dressed, was scooped up by security personnel who carried her to Pope Francis as his vehicle passed on the street.
She received a kiss and blessing.
In an interview with NBC4 before the trip, Sofie said she wanted Pope Francis to speak personally to President Barack Obama about legalizing all immigrants. Her parents are immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico, Sofie said.
She didn't get a chance to say anything to the Pope, but told Telemundo that she was happy to meet him and give him the yellow shirt. The shirt included the message, "Papa Rescate DAPA" -- Pope Rescue DAPA, which stands for deferred action for parents of Americans.
The program would extend deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, but is on hold after 26 states sued to block it. The Obama administration has repeatedly directed immigration agents to focus resources on serious criminal immigrants, people who pose a national security or public safety threat and those caught crossing the border illegally.
Sofie's father told Telemundo that she also delivered a letter to Pope Francis about the immigration issue. Sofie and her father will appear at a rally and news conference Wednesday evening at the Capitol. Rep. Julia Brownley invited Sophie to listen to the pope's address to Congress on Thursday.
The papal parade was along the Ellipse and a portion of the National Mall. Nearly 18,000 people were expected to line the route to St. Matthew's Cathedral, where Pope Francis was expected to deliver a midday prayer with 300 U.S. bishops.