Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Fast for Citizenship: The Moral Obligation to Pass Immigration Reform

December 9, 2013


“What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption?”

Statement of the Fasters

What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption? The world has witnessed the beliefs and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez translate in courageous acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to gain justice for a community of people who were underserved and discriminated against. We now humbly attempt to follow the examples of these great teachers and the teachings of Scripture to align our own hearts with the heart of God, who desires justice for immigrants and immediate justice for the 11 million undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters within our borders. Our faith requires nothing less. Today begins our vow to abstain from sustenance.

Where Cesar Chavez ended his 36 day fast for the rights of farm workers in 1988, we continue decades later to sacrifice our own comfort to underscore the moral crisis afflicting workers, children, mothers and fathers, living under an immigration system unwilling to recognize their existence and the legitimacy of their familial ties with integrity and empathy.

We have heard the word “wait” in the past. Dr. King heard it. Chavez heard it. Gandhi heard it. Our communities of immigrants continue to hear it while they bear witness to families divided by deportations, students trapped in limbo bearing the weight of anxiety beyond their years, and workers brutally exploited and relegated to invisibility.

Yet like them, we refuse to dwell on the frustrations of “wait.” We rise with them and declare our moral obligation, grounded in the words of God spoken through the prophets, to move the compassion of elected leadership in the House, and to inspire a resilient movement to cease the deportations, suffering, sorrow and fear and usher a new structure of laws for the good of our country men and women and the sake of our values.

Our voluntary sacrifice represents the urgency, the passion and commitment of a community of all religions, races, and political affiliations, to enact commonsense immigration reform this year.

On this day, we begin our journey. We will fast and pray until the bonds of families are no longer broken. We will fast and pray until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality. We will fast and pray until citizenship is no longer a dream for 11 million aspiring Americans.

Take Action

  1. Calling your Member of Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform.
  2. Getting as many people as possible to fast in solidarity with the Washington, DC fasters by fasting in large groups in public places so we can bring attention to this important issue.
  3. Highlighting the moral crisis caused by the broken immigration system.
  4. Raising public awareness of the suffering and sacrifice immigrants face in our country.