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Emanuel, Aldermen Wrapping Up 24-Hour Fast To Support Immigration Reform

By aaroncynic in News on Dec 13, 2013 10:00PM

Photo credit: aaroncynic/Chicagoist

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and several Chicago aldermen are wrapping a 24-hour fast to support immigration reform. The mayor, along with Aldermen Danny Solis (25th), Rey Colon (35th) and Lona Lane (18th) attended the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe mass at St. Pius V Church last night where they began their fasts.

During remarks made at the pulpit before he laid roses at the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Emanuel said:

“For us it is essential to remind the United States Congress that there is support for immigration reform throughout the country. And we are going to fast and share in that effort in solidarity, as the father said, with those in Washington.”

The fast is in solidarity with another, larger fast by a group of immigration reform activists at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. that started last month to call on Congress to pass immigration reform. According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, three “Fast for Families” participants abstained from all food for 22 days until they were medically advised to pass their fast to others. Since then, organizers say more than 10,000 people have pledged to fast at various times to show their support.

Other Illinois politicians say they’ve participated as well, including Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Jan Schakowsky. “I’m so inspired by the fasters and... how they’re willing to put their bodies on the lines, their health on the line to raise attention to an issue that is really tearing at the fabric of our country,” Schakowsky said in an interview with Politico last month before she took part in the fast. In a press release earlier this week, Duckworth said:

“We must pass comprehensive immigration reform that is practical, fair and humane. We need a long-term plan that will secure our borders, include a responsible path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals and reunite families. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined that comprehensive immigration reform will reduce our national debt by $1 trillion over 20 years and I know that it will be a significant boost for our economy.”

The House finished its session yesterday, meaning it won’t vote on the bill the Senate approved until the summer. Activists say the longer the House waits, the worse the situation gets for the families of undocumented immigrants. According to ICIRR, some 1,100 immigrants are deported each day. In Illinois, 56,108 children have lost a parent to deportations.