The great majority of people who commit a minor criminal offence usually get to go back to their ordinary lives afterwards and deal with the consequences in a court of law, but immigrants often face considerably more daunting repercussions such as extensive prison time and possibly even being deported.
Mario Vargas was arrested in 2013 for driving under the influence in Tennessee, where he was looking for construction work in order to support his family. In early March 2014 he was taken into federal custody and held in immigration detention. The Associated Press reported that Vargas was being held under a $5,000 bond in Louisiana, with wife Lola Vargas having difficulty enough supporting her family without his assistance, let alone finding such a large amount of money.
At this point Vargas’ ten year old daughter Jersey stepped in, travelling to the Vatican to ask Pope Francis to help with her father’s situation. The meeting was recorded and shown on television and while the Pope was unable to offer assistance, a relative saw the young girl pleading for his assistance and offered to foot the bill for the bond. Vargas was released on the March 28th.
Jersey’s visit to the Vatican came as a part of a Californian delegation’s organized excursion, which was intended to persuade the Pope to ask President Barack Obama to pass immigration reform. Jersey went with an older friend and another 14 reform advocates representing children who live with the constant fear of their parents being deported.