Photo: White House
With the aim of getting President Barack Obama to listen to their requests that he stop deportations, three people on Tuesday began a hunger strike in front of the White House.
They told Efe that they will continue with their protest as long as their health permits.
Cynthia Diaz, an 18-year-old college student, said that her mother, who is undocumented, was taken from their home in Phoenix on March 16 by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.
“We know that the probability of deportations is very high, but that’s why I came here, because I want the president to listen to me,” the Arizona native said.
She said that for the past two weeks she has been preparing for the hunger strike in Washington’s Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, where campaign tents have been set up to house the strikers.
“I’m going to be here until my body reaches its limit. I know I have a very small body, but I’m going to be strong and be all that I can be,” Diaz said.
Some 40 demonstrators from California, Arizona and the nation’s capital on Tuesday participated in the activities surrounding the launching of the hunger strike.
Jose Valdez, 55, one of the three strikers, said that his son has been held for the past 19 months at an immigration detention center in Phoenix.
Nayra Zapata, 19, who was born in Puebla, Mexico, said amid tears that she plans not to eat until the authorities release the father of her two sons.
The organizations involved in organizing the hunger strike have coordinated with doctors who will continuously oversee the health of the strikers.
Two-thirds of the more than 2 million people deported since Obama took office in January 2009 were individuals who had committed minor offenses, such as traffic violations, The New York Times reported last Sunday.
The White House, however, maintains that 98 percent of deportations by ICE have been in line with the priorities set by the administration, with a focus on threats to national security, public safety and border security.