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Fasting for Immigration Reform

Now that 2013 is over, the architects of the comprehensive immigration reform proposal that has formed new political alliances and created new divisions are vying for a final drive before next year. This final push is bringing together politics, ideologies, religious holidays and people of all ethnicities. While bills on topics ranging from family immigration to protection for agricultural workers hang in the balance, much news surrounding immigration reform is about fasting for change.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) chose to make a strong statement with a one-day fast in support of Fast4Families, an advocacy group that uses hunger strikes to urge Congress and the White House to pass legislation to advance citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who may qualify. This is a group that briefly met with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during Thanksgiving. Needless to say, Fast4Families did not enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal this year.

Senator Dick Durbin was not alone in this fast, which took place on the same on the same day that Catholics around the world celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s religious patron. Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Corey Booker (D-N.J.) joined the fast as well. Senators Durbin and Menendez are part of the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan architects of this major legislative proposal.

Other Lawmakers and Officials Join the Fast

Fast4Families has been camped at the National Mall since mind-November. Key members are managing hunger strikes, and they have gotten support from legislators and public officials. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.) recently participated in the fast at the National Mall, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Latino members of the City Council have also fasted in support.

Immigration activists have vowed to close 2013 with strong support for immigration reform. They are approaching House Republicans at their favorite diners and sometimes at their own homes. President Obama has gotten a taste of their bold approach as well since he has been reluctant to order a moratorium on deportations. The White House, however, is one of the strongest supporters of immigration reform.

At this point, the Democratic leadership in Congress is accepting the fact that the immigration issue will not be discussed on the floor until next year. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has indicated as much; however, activists have vowed to continue their efforts well into next year. To stay up-to-date with immigration reform as we enter 2014, continue checking our website at and don’t hesitate to contact us directly at 858-874-0711 for questions or assistance with visa applications.

October 2023