Fast for Families tour of U.S. promotes immigration reform

Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union, says Fast for Families will visit more than 100 key congressional districts where the group will invite people to join him and others in the fast. (Alejandro Alba/SHFWire)

Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union, says Fast for Families will visit more than 100 key congressional districts where the group will invite people to join him and others in the fast. (Alejandro Alba/SHFWire)

WASHINGTON – Four activists for immigration reform are taking their cause on the road. They will board a bus Tuesday and urge people in 100 communities around the country to fast with them until Congress passes immigration reform.

“We are going to be asking the American people to join us in fasting,” Eliseo Medina, international secretary-treasurer for the Service Employees International Union, said. “Judging from what happened in December, I think we are going to have tens of thousands of people joining us.”

The Fast for Families campaign began November when immigration activists sat outside the Capitol and fasted for 22 days. Medina is one of two people who will fast on the bus tour who also fasted at the Capitol.

The tour will visit more than 100 congressional districts to engage members of Congress in a dialogue on immigration reform. The tour is scheduled to end April 9 in Washington.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, said the campaign is for all immigrants.

“This is not just about Latino communities,” Wallis said. “It’s about all of us.”

Wallis said the movement is important and requires a group of people to change the broken political system and the broken immigration system.

“We are a wind changing group,” Wallis said. “We are a social movement changing politics.”

Barbara Williams Skinner, co-chair for the National African American Clergy Network, agreed that the movement is broad and includes all immigrants from different nationalities.

“We are a nation of immigrants,” Skinner said. “Why would we leave the best of who we are in the shadows?”

Medina said that after the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, in June, he hopes the House will pass an immigration reform bill.

The bill, The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, H.R. 15, is similar to the Senate bill. It would make it possible for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and eventually citizenship. It also proposes border security improvements and ways to assess how well they work. It would enact the DREAM Act to grant legal status and a path to citizenship for young people brought to the U.S. as children.

Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., introduced the bill Oct. 2. It was referred to the Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on research and technology Dec. 13.

“We would like immigration reform sooner rather than later,” Medina said. “Every single day we have people dying in the border, and we have more people being deported.”

The Rev. Jennifer Butler, executive director at Faith in Public Life, said the purpose of fasting is to affect and move members of Congress.

“There were a number of Republican members of Congress, in particular, who came down and when they heard the stories of how this was impacting families they actually wept,” Butler said.

Butler said fasting was adopted to illustrate the real life stories of immigrants.

“The fasting reminds us of the suffering that families go through when they are struggling to make a new way in a foreign country,” Butler said. “It also shows our deep spiritual commitment to making this issue move forward.”

Medina and Wallis said the broken immigration system will change only if everyone participates in the change.

“The president was elected president of the United States, not king of the United States,” Medina said. “Consequently, he cannot fix this broken immigration system, he needs the Congress to act.”


Editor’s note: This story was previously published on Scripps Howard Foundation Wire.




1 Comment

  1. Indifferently to the Rule of Law, and as printed in the Federal Registry, Democrats through the directives of the Department of Homeland Security are not arresting illegal aliens on the Southern toxic border, but under presidential degree are restraining U.S. border officers from completing their duty.

    U.S border patrol agent sources yelling their frustration relating to both political parties being pressed by special interests, that drug cartels and human traffickers are wasting no time in prospering from smuggling thousands of
    illegal aliens across the Southern border.

    Federal agents are aware of the massive problem, as they see large numbers
    of footprints the New River, which meanders from Mexico onto our soil. Officials announced that traffickers are transporting whole families, including young children through open areas of the border regions and many reporting themselves to the border agents, completely without fear of being deported, certainly aware of the controversial immigration amnesty being tracked through Congress.

    An anonymous Department of Homeland Security official stated, “Right now,
    entire families — groups — show up at the border and turn themselves in,” said
    who works along the Arizona border with Mexico. “It’s only getting worse. They bring their children with them and they know they will not be turned back — the majorities are given a free ride into the U.S. This is out of control and passing immigration reform without enforcing current laws will make it worse, not better.”

    Another Texas Border officer who was promised anonymity in his commentary,” Human smugglers are using the “promise of immigration reform” among those desperate to immigrate to the U.S. from overseas. Many illegal migrant workers “are trying to find a way into the United States before the amnesty and many with their offspring,” Children become leverage for the parents, because under the “Birthright Citizenship Law” slipped into America has access to food stamps, cash payments, schooling and of course healthcare—and taxpayers are burdened with these costs, which averages into the hundred of billions of dollars. Of course the parents, a pregnant Mother who arrives by plane or crosses the border can claim dollars, prenatal and hospital treatment—all for free. That’s how millions of illegal aliens
    live, with the many children supplementing their income and no possibility of
    being deported—especially under the Obama presidential signature. Eventually Dream Act children can sponsor their aging parents, adding even more dollars in welfare payments.

    . Use your voice and crash the switchboard in Washington at (202) 224-3121. Enough is enough. Obama has defied and despoiled the Constitution, bypassed Congress, gone against the laws of this country and the ardent will of the people.
    The only true Conservatives who will enforce immigration are the “rending-away”
    Peoples TEA PARTY dot org. President Barack Obama is pushing for amnesty even though the (CBO) Congressional Budget Office has determined it will devastate the wages of working class people.

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