WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following nearly a week of protests, fasts and solidarity actions across the United States, faith and religious leaders will break their fast today at 5:30PM. The week’s actions, aimed to draw attention to the lack of implementation of prosecutorial discretion by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, drew more than 250 faith, immigration and community leaders together at the main fast in Washington, D.C. and in 10 “echo” events across the country.
Beginning their fast and protest on Tuesday, June 16, activists demonstrated in front of ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the deportation cases of Arturo Hernandez Garcia and Rosa Robles Loreto, who have been living in the United States for more than 15 years and are parents of young children. Both have taken sanctuary in churches in Denver and Tucson, respectively, while fighting deportation proceedings.
“This week, hundreds of people stood in solidarity with Arturo, Rosa and the thousands of other undocumented individuals living in fear of having their families torn apart by unjust deportations,” the Rev. Noel Andersen said. Andersen, the National Grassroots Coordinator for Church World Service, demonstrated in front of ICE headquarters and in a Congressional hearing reviewing President Obama’s immigration executive actions on Wednesday. “If ICE officials will not listen to President Obama’s call to use discretion in deportation cases, we will continue to show that there is a higher power demanding they act with compassion to keep families and communities together.”
Singing religious songs, praying and chanting in front of ICE headquarters, activists were joined in their demonstrations throughout the week by members of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and clergy from various faith communities. Representative Jared Polis of Colorado also joined the group Thursday morning to show his support of the fast.
“We joined together this week to demand with one voice that enough is enough – ICE officials must act to implement prosecutorial discretion as outlined in President Obama’s executive actions on immigration,” stated Jennifer Piper, a fast participant from Denver and Interfaith Organizing Director for American Friends Service Committee. The lead organizer working on Arturo Hernandez Garcia’s case, she joined the three-day fast in hopes of drawing attention to ICE’s demonstrated failure to implement discretion in his case. “Arturo and his family have the right to continue living their lives without fear of unjust deportation. His story, like that of so many undocumented individuals across the country, is why we joined this fast and demonstration – to demand ICE officials implement discretion to keep families and communities together.”