Oregon activists join immigration reform fast

PORTLAND, Ore. — About half a dozen Oregon immigrant rights activists are fasting for 24 hours to protest inaction in Congress on immigration reform.

The fast started at the end of the day Monday. It’s one of several in the nation to support the hunger strike on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that began Nov. 12.

Three immigrant advocates who camped out in a tent on the National Mall ended their three-week water-only fast Tuesday. A new group of long-term fasters — including U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy Jr. — took their place.

Shorter fasts have been scheduled in states such as Oregon, California, Illinois and Florida.

The fasts target House Speaker John Boehner, who refuses to schedule a vote on a comprehensive bill the Senate passed in June but has said the House would consider piecemeal legislation. It’s unclear if and when the House will take up the smaller bills.

In Bend, the fasters planned to gather outside U.S. Rep. Greg Walden’s office Tuesday to urge support for the passage of immigration reform. They will deliver a letter asking Walden to push for reform with a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who lack legal status.

Those fasting in Oregon include Andrea Miller, executive director of immigrant-rights group Causa, and Rob Sisk, president of Local 503 of the Service Employees International Union.

Also on Tuesday, the nonprofit Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council organized solidarity fasts with the immigrant advocates.

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