The 10 hunger strikers camped out in front of the U.S. Capitol demanding that Congress approve immigration reform as quickly as possible will spend Thanksgiving Day sipping only water.
The tents in which they are camping in front of the Capitol building were filled on Tuesday with religious leaders, activists and citizens who wanted to show their support for the fast being undertaken since Nov. 15.
“What moves us is the hunger for justice,” said Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, who has lost 20 pounds (9.1 kg) so far during the protest.
“Any sacrifice is small and is not comparable to that of the immigrants who lose their lives in the desert seeking a better future or whose families suffer deportation,” he told Efe.
Organizers issued a call for citizens all across the United States to ask House Speaker John Boehner to back down and unblock the road to immigration reform that would regularize the status of some 11 million people in this country.
“We’re asking the American people to raise their collective voice to join forces and convince the politicians that the time to act is now,” the 67-year-old Medina said.
The hunger strike was launched just one day before Boehner said that House Republicans were not going to allow the immigration reform bill the Senate approved in June to come up for debate before the end of the year.
Messages of support have been piling up in the hunger strikers’ tents along with pictures of Gandhi and Cesar Chavez, and they have set up a small altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe - Mexico’s patron saint - where they pray that the politicians inside the Capitol might understand the importance of immigration reform for the millions who would benefit from it.