LA immigration group at center of girl’s encounter with pope

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WASHINGTON — A coalition of Los Angeles-based immigration rights groups pulled off a public-relations coup this week when a 5-year-old girl had a brief encounter with Pope Francis along a tightly controlled parade route.

Sophie Cruz's moment to deliver a message about the plight of immigrant parents living in the country illegally had been in the works for nearly a year.

The groups that brought Sophie and her dad to Washington aren't rookies at getting the pope's attention. Last year, they took a 10-year-old girl to Rome and helped her make her plea for assistance in getting her father released from an immigration detention center.