Almost one month has passed since a group of activists began fasting in order to get the attention of lawmakers and compel the House of Representatives to act on immigration reform. This movement, known as Fast for Families started on November 12 and has garnered attention from others all around the nation.
Currently, there are more than a dozen individuals who have gathered at the U.S. capitol on the grounds of the National Mall in order to show solidarity with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. All are hoping for a swift decision to be made on the proposed immigration bill.
The proposed bill has already passed the Senate, but has faced serious resistance at the House of Representatives. With only a handful of days left for the House to decide on the bill's fate, these activists are hoping that their courageous acts will encourage the House to finally pass the bill.
At this point, four of the fasters were forced to discontinue their efforts when they required medical attention and a brief hospital stay. Some of the fasters are undocumented immigrants themselves who are more than ready for a change, while others include activists who normally focus their attention on issues related to labor, human rights, and faith-based issues.
These activists have set up tents on the grounds and have been visited by many. These visitors include Vice President Biden, members of Congress, Cabinet members, and President Obama himself.
News of this fast has spread and other groups throughout the country have participated in similar acts in order to show support of the group in D.C. In Long Island, there were thirty people in attendance at a fast that took place at a local mosque. Participants wanted the U.S. Government to understand that there is a great need for immigration reform. One of the organizers of this fast stated that she considers fasting to be more than a physical act. For her, it's a “symbolic fast. It is the hunger of my community for a life of respect and dignity.”
The group in D.C. has also had support from lawmakers throughout the nation who have participated in the fast. Representative Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) pledged to go without food for 24 hours as a sign of fellowship with the other fasters. The plan is to have another member of Congress take over each day in order to continue the showing of solidarity.
Meanwhile, California activists planned to “occupy” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy's district office until December 13. Others in the area pledged to visit neighborhoods in order to speak with residents about immigration reform.
Of course, the ideal end result from all of these efforts would be for the House to pass the proposed immigration reform bill before it adjourns for the year. However, whether the bill is passed during this legislative session or not, it will likely not cease the efforts of advocates and protesters throughout the nation and the world who seek immigration reform in the United States.