WASHINGTON - Wednesday Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and two Obama Administration Cabinet members from Chicago - Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan - met with immigration reform activists fasting at the "Fast for Families" tent on the National Mall. A string of federal lawmakers and officials have visited the protest, including the Obamas, who visited the Fast for Families tent the day after Thanksgiving.
Durbin announced Friday that Wednesday's visit convinced him to join the fasting effort for 24 hours, which, the group's website says, is to emulate Caesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandi's example of non-violent political pressure.
The group blames House Republicans for stalling immigration reform that passed the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate earlier this year. The group's statement reads:
This year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.
Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the House continues to delay a vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.
Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.
Durbin announced his plans to participate on Facebook Friday: