The Common Good

Immigration Advocates Go Without Food, Plea For House To 'Do Its Job'

Date: November 19, 2013

WASHINGTON -- Immigrant rights advocates who have been fasting for a week walked to John Boehner's office on Tuesday to ask, unsuccessfully, for a meeting, seeking to make their case to the House speaker that he should allow a vote on immigration reform.

They didn't get to the Ohio Republican, who works in the Capitol and not the office they visited. But they met in the hallway with spokeswoman Brittany Bramell, who listened to them speak and promised to pass on their statements. When Eliseo Medina, former secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, asked whether Boehner could meet that day, he was met with a no.

Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing for the Christian social justice group Sojourners, began to cry on the walk to Boehner's office while talking about her hopes for reform.

"We've been working on this for so long," said Harper, who also has been fasting. "And this really is, many believe, the last window that we have coming into early January, and then after that it will get much more difficult to pass anything."

But Harper added that as an evangelical Christian, she believes in resurrection, and she and others think it could happen for immigration reform.

"I don't fast out of worry, I fast out of hope," she said.