On Friday morning, Vice President Joseph Biden (D) stopped by the “Fast for Families” tent pitched on the National Mall to pray with faith leaders and immigration activists who are fasting as a way to pressure House Republicans to advance immigration reform legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship. Three core fasters, Eliseo Medina, Cristian Avila, and Dae Joong Yoon, are going into their eleventh day of fasting — they will continue to fast until they are medically advised to stop. The movement has spread across the nation with numerous activists fasting in solidarity and then sometimes marching to the offices of elected officials.
Biden said to the fasters, “What you’re doing here is to bring attention to what’s morally right and attention to a community that is already American.” He also said, “We will win this. As my father always says, come hell or high water.”
Christian, an undocumented youth, also thanked Biden for helping with the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, which grants temporary work authorization for undocumented individuals between the ages of 16 to 31.
Another White House official visited the tent days before — director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz recalled Cesar Chavez’s meeting with Robert Kennedy after he had fasted for a number of weeks. Biden’s arrival was followed shortly later by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA), the second House Republican to visit the fasters this past week. Both Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Rev. Jesse Jackson visited the fasters on Wednesday. Jackson said that he would commit to fast for three days.
Other Congressional members like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) have visited the fasters in previous days. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) fasted for one day in solidarity.