One of the highlights of the pope’s parade through Washington this past week was also a Kodak moment. A 5-year-old girl named Sophie Cruz suddenly emerged from behind the barricades along the parade route with a message for the Holy Father about the plight of her family. At first, she was restrained, despite her tender age, by security personnel, but Sophie — the daughter of illegal immigrants — was determined.
The pope, touched by her resoluteness, ordered that the popemobile stop and that the child be brought to him. Then came the magical moment when a member of the Secret Service hoisted Sophie up and into the waiting arms of the pontiff.
It was one of those fateful, lump-in-the-throat-inducing encounters that can’t be scripted.
Except that this one was. It was planned a year ago. The Associated Press quotes Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition as explaining:
We planned to do this from the moment we learned he 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.
The group, the article goes on to note, “had even pulled off a similar public-relations coup a year ago in Rome with a 10-year-old girl meeting the pope.”
Said Gutierrez, “We have been looking for children to make the case that we as adults have been making for years.”
The media were certainly duped by this nakedly political ploy. Here’s a video from CNN: