When Pope Francis and President Obama meet on Thursday, one item will definitely be on the agenda: immigration reform. That is, if Pope Francis is the kind of guy who keeps his promises to adorable 10-year-old girls. Jersey Vargas's father is currently in the process of being deported from the U.S., and she went to the Vatican on Wednesday with a group of immigration activists to ask the Pope to do something about it ahead of his visit. Here's what happened, according to an interview Vargas gave to Fox Latino:
“I told him to pray for my family and to ask the president to stop deportation because it's separating my family. He blessed me and told me he would bring this up with President Obama.”
Vargas attended Francis's weekly audience with the public, an event that usually attracts tens of thousands of visitors. She and the group of immigration activists she was with had a note from their Archbishop José Gomez enabling them to get close to where Francis would pass by on his way to bless the audience.
Los Angeles Times. She also gave some more context on how she ended up separated from her father. According to Vargas, her dad "was caught driving without a license, and because he wasn't born in the United States, that also didn't help him out…. So now he's in another state, I think in Indiana, and he's with immigration and they're going to deport him." Prompted by her separation from her dad in September, Vargas took a pretty big life experience leap to try and do something about it. When she was asked if she'd ever been to Rome before, Vargas told the Times that "I haven't even been to Disneyland."
Meanwhile, Obama endorsed a longshot attempt by House Democrats to push an immigration reform bill to the floor on Wednesday. In his statement, the president said that “Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security and our future,” adding that "the only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country.” Although the White House has faced increasing criticism from immigration advocates as the federal government fails to pass comprehensive reform, Sen. Jeff Sessions decided to weigh in for a different reason on Wednesday: the Republican lawmaker doesn't believe the Obama administration has deported enough undocumented immigrants.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.