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Steven Choi, NYIC executive director: Why I am Fasting for Immigration Reform

Today, in solidarity with the D.C. fasters who have reached their 22nd day of fasting, I joined nineteen other members of the New York Immigration Coalition in a 24-hour fast for immigrant families. Our message is simple and is echoed by fasters across the country: Congress must put immigration reform with a path to citizenship to a vote now.

Since November 12th, the three core “Fast for Families” fasters in Washington, D.C. – SEIU’s Eliseo Medina, Mi Familia Vota’s Cristian Avila and NAKASEC’s Dae Joong Yoon – have been abstaining from all food and have vowed to fast until they can no longer sustain. NYIC board member and MinKwon Center for Community Action President SJ Jung was among the D.C. fasters until health complications led him to end his fast. Their efforts have gained national and international attention, including visits to the tent at the National Mall from President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden, and other public officials and civic leaders. They have inspired us and thousands across the country to fast today in solidarity with them and for immigration reform.

Our communities have waited for decades, and this year we saw real momentum on the part of President Obama and the Senate to push forward an immigration reform bill. But since the passage of S744 in the Senate in June, the House of Representatives has failed to act. In response, immigrants and their families, students, advocates, faith, labor and political leaders across the country have escalated the pressure on Congress through civil disobedience actions, massive rallies such as the October 5th Day of Immigrant Dignity and Respect, pressure on Speaker Boehner and New York members of Congress Michael Grimm and Richard Hanna, and fasts for immigration reform. Our communities have spoken loud and clear that we will not give up.

I’m fasting today because the time is now that Congress sees that we will not go away until we have a tangible solution, until 1,100 deportations a day cease, until we see our families, friends, fellow New Yorkers and undocumented Americans set on a pathway to citizenship. We will put our bodies on the line until this happens. I am proud to be a part of this struggle.

Steven Choi,
Executive Director
New York Immigration Coalition




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