Leaders from immigrant rights groups, labor, women’s rights organizations, and faith groups have been taking part in “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship” to pressure lawmakers to bring the immigration reform bill to a vote. The fast in Washington, DC is now in its fifteenth day. Many have been fasting for two or three day periods, but longer-term fasters have chosen to go without food until medically necessary.

The immigration reform bill would provide a comprehensive, earned path to citizenship for many of the approximately 11.7 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US. It has already been passed by the Senate and is currently awaiting House approval.

Fast for Families is calling on the nation to join them in a national day of fasting and prayer between December 1 and December 3. Eliseo Medina of SEIU, one of the fast organizers, indicated yesterday that the action has inspired 103 solidarity fasters who have joined Fast for Families in tents the fasters have set up near the Capitol, as well as thousands of other fasters nationwide.

Dae Joong Yoon, a faster with the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, explained why people are fasting: “Immigration reform is not about politics or policy, it is about people. The human cost of our broken system has created moral urgency that demands action. That is why we are fasting.”

The fasters have received messages of support from several U.S. leaders including President Barack Obama. Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) both visited the Fast for Families tent earlier this month.

Fasters have declared, “We will fast and pray until the bonds of families are no longer broken. We will fast and pray until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality. We will fast and pray until citizenship is no longer a dream for 11 million aspiring Americans.”

Media Resources: The Washington Post 11/12/13; Feminist Newswire 10/15/13; ThinkProgress 11/27/13; SEIU 11/12/13; Fast for Families 11/26/13; NBC 11/22/13

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