Sophie’s question was not asked tonight. We thank our supporters for pushing her question to national visibility, and hope that the subject of immigration is given full attention at the final Presidential debate.
It started with a hand-written letter. Sophie Cruz, evading papal security, made headlines when she delivered her message to Pope Francis on September 23rd, 2015. She desperately wanted the pontiff to learn about the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States, and the struggle for a legal path to citizenship:
“Pope Francis, I want to tell you that my heart is very sad, because I’m scared that one day ICE is going to deport my parents. I have a right to live with my parents. I have a right to be happy. My dad works very hard in a factory galvanizing metals. Immigrants like my dad feed this country. They therefore deserve to live with dignity, they deserve to be respected, they deserve immigration reform, because it would be beneficial to my country, and because they have earned it working very hard, picking oranges, onions, watermelons, spinach, lettuce, and many other vegetables. Don’t forget about us the children, or about those who suffer because they’re not with their parents because of war, because of violence, because of hunger.”
And she has not looked back. She caught the attention of President Obama, who invited her to the White House. Her parents could not come, because of their undocumented status.
Sophie has continued to educate others about immigration, showing how she, as an American citizen, may be separated from her parents if a path to citizenship is not established by Congress. As the Presidential election season wore on, it became clear that Sophie’s future would continue to be affected by politics.
Free Like the Birds, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, reminded people that her fight to remain with her family, and the country she’s grown up in, continues to this day.
The director of the short, Paola Mendoza, spoke to what Sophie has represented, to the 9 million people in mixed immigration status families, to the millions of migrants around the world.
“At the age of six, Sophie Cruz is our nation’s conscience. She is our movement’s inspiration. She is one of our leaders. She is why we fight.”
Now, Sophie is back putting pressure on the most powerful people in the world. Thanks to the support of thousands, her question has the potential to be asked at the next Presidential Debate on October 9th, with tens of millions of Americans watching.