Sophie Cruz

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Sophie Cruz (born 17 December 2010) is an American activist. Her parents are undocumented immigrants from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico; Cruz's activism is geared toward ensuring the continuance of the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) program, which would allow her parents to remain in the United States legally.


In 2015, when Sophie Cruz was five years old, Pope Francis visited Washington out for undocumented immigrants. That day, she wore a shirt printed with the words "Papa Rescate DAPA," urging the Pope to support the DAPA in D.C. She was born in the United States, but her parents are undocumented and could face deportation. She hoped to meet the Pope to deliver a note asking him to speak Action for Parents of Americans Act.[1] When the Pope's car passed by, Sophie ran out into the street to see him but was turned away by security. However, the Pope had seen her run out from the crowd and requested to meet her. He hugged her, and she left her note with his attendants.[2] Pope Francis addressed the issue at a joint meeting of the United States Congress the next day, encouraging greater openness for immigrants and refugees.[3]

Cruz's trip to see the Pope was sponsored by La Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, a Los Angeles-based immigration advocacy organization. In an interview, Cruz said: "I believe I have the right to live with my parents. I have the right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing pieces of metal. All immigrants just like my dad feed this country. They deserve to live with dignity. They deserve to live with respect."[4]

Meeting with President Obama[edit]

In May 2016, Cruz was invited to visit then President Barack Obama at the White House for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Because her parents were undocumented, they were not able to enter the White House, and instead, Sophie was accompanied by Alida Garcia from and filmmaker Paola Mendoza.[5] Mendoza had previously directed a short video, "Free Like the Birds," starring Sophie and her family that debuted in the Tribeca Film Festival.[6][7] She appeared in the video "11 Million Stories" in partnership with, which discussed the potential implications of national mass-deportation and how children like her, with undocumented parents, faced certain obstacles.[8]

Women's March on Washington[edit]

On January 21, 2017, Cruz was a featured speaker at the Women's March in Washington, D.C., in protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump.[9]


  1. ^ Ortiz, Gabe. "Why We've Never Forgotten Little Sophie Cruz". America's Voice. America's Voice. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Gambino, Lauren (September 23, 2015). "Francis and Sophie's secret: girl who hugged pope delivers immigration plea". The Guardian. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  3. ^ Hing, Julianne (September 24, 2015). "Pope Francis Delivers Sophie Cruz's Message to Congress". The Nation. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  4. ^ Witte, Brian (September 23, 2015). "Little Girl Is Star of Papal Parade". U.S. News & World Report LP. UW News. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  5. ^ Hernández, Arelis (May 5, 2016). "The girl who hugged the pope is at the White House. Her parents, who are undocumented, can't join her". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  6. ^ Ortiz, Gabe. "Sophie Cruz Makes Her Tribeca Film Festival Debut In 'Free Like The Birds'". America's Voice. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Mendoza, Paola. "FREE LIKE THE BIRDS". Vimeo. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  8. ^ Hernández, Arelis R. (December 14, 2015). "The little girl who gave a letter to the pope is featured in a new video by Zuckerberg's pro-immigration group".
  9. ^ McAfee, Tierney (January 21, 2017). "6-Year-Old Girl Who Handed Letter to Pope Francis: 'Let Us Fight with Love, Faith and Courage'". People Politics. Retrieved January 23, 2017.

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