The Fast for Families bus continues its journey across the country getting closer to its final destination: Washington, D.C., on April 9. Fast for Families’ leader, Eliseo Medina was arrested in Miami on March 21 and released later that night. Medina was arrested at Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart’s Doral office while delivering a letter on immigration reform with constituents and immigrant rights advocates.
Continuing to advocate for fair and humane immigration reform, fasters pressed on into week five and made stops in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Fasters met with the staff members of Republican Rep. Mike Rogers in Lansing, Mich., to press for support.
“America has a proud heritage as a nation of immigrants, but our current immigration system is clearly broken ...” Rogers said in a statement. “I am ready to start small and work together to create meaningful bipartisan legislation, piece by piece.”
On the northern route, fasters made stops in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In Florida, fasters stopped at the office of Republican Rep. Dennis Ross to press for action in the House on comprehensive immigration reform. Ross has opposed the comprehensive Senate bill in favor of a "piecemeal" approach to immigration reform that would require current illegal residents to "earn" citizenship. Medina responded to Ross’ position on immigration, saying, "Things change. We're going to have lots of conversations with [House] members. What's ‘no' today could be ‘yes' tomorrow."
Medina was not the only one optimistic about the influence that the bus tour will have on the passage of just and humane immigration reform. Hilario Barajas , 63, of Auburndale, a former United Farmworkers Union organizer and one of the founders of Young American Dreamers in 2005 and Centro Campesino 40 years ago, stated his confidence in the passage of immigration reform.
"They don't have any good arguments against an immigration bill. The economy will run a lot better with immigration reform,” said Barajas.
As the long haul for immigration begins and Republicans are increasingly being pressured to put forth legislation for just and humane immigration reform, fasters remain optimistic.
Faster Susana Sandoval in Indiana expressed what fasters hope to achieve: "We're asking for that first step forward. We're asking congressmen to take that one step forward in order to help keep America one family. Regardless of their party affiliation, people should be able to raise their family."
As fasters continue with their journey, let us keep them in our thoughts and prayers and continue doing what we can in our communities to pressure our members of Congress to show leadership on this crucial issue that affects our communities, workplaces, and friends.
Shakei Haynes is Campaigns Assistant at Sojourners. He majored in Political Science at Howard University and is currently a student at Wesley Theological Seminary pursuing his Master of Divinity.