Immigration reform activists calling for national days of fasting got a big push to continue fighting for the cause Wednesday when the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in America, announced its support.
Three activists in Washington, D.C., have been refusing food for about two weeks now in hopes of getting a reaction from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other congressional Republicans who have tabled immigration reform for the year.
AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka issued a press release Wednesday, stating that with Thanksgiving approaching, bringing families together, the organization is remembering those torn apart because of the broken system.
“Speaker John Boehner and his House Republican caucus are the final obstacle between a broken status quo and a healed country,” Trumka said. “The labor movement will not stop fighting until our immigration system is reformed and the deportation crisis is over.”
The 2013 immigration reform bills have stalled in Congress mainly because Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on what to do with the 11 million immigrants in the country without papers. However, both sides agree that the status quo is unacceptable and something must be done.
Democrats in the House and Senate envision a solution that improves border security, holds employers responsible for hiring unauthorized workers, brings in more skilled labor, and maps a 13-year path to citizenship for the undocumented. Republicans envision some of the same things but have rebuffed the idea of citizenship.
That the AFL-CIO has thrown its weight behind immigration reform is a big deal. Not only because it consists of 57 unions that represent more than 12 million workers but also because it has been lobbying Congress on the issue and was able to find consensus with the Chamber of Commerce earlier this year on a visa deal after lawmakers looked to them for a solution.
Fast for Families is calling for National Days to Act, Fast and Pray from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3.