Advent Fast for Immigration Reform in the United States

9th December 2013 - by Ellen Teague

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Columban JPIC in Britain is supporting an international day of solidarity and prayer on 11 December, to support immigrants fasting in Washington for immigration reform.

On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labour leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on the National Mall, steps away from Washington’s Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community have been fasting every day and night since then, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
The fast in Washington DC has been in conjunction with dozens of local and solidarity fasts, events, and actions already underway across the country. Nationwide, groups and activists have pushed for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship. The 11 December day will demonstrate international solidarity.
The U.S. region of the Columban Fathers has endorsed this courageous effort on the part of immigrants and their families. Columban JPIC sent the following statement on 9 December:
Dear friends
Our thoughts and prayers are with you on 11 December for your special day, calling for international solidarity to support a just immigration system in the United States. Your ‘Fast for Families’ is truly inspiring, and we pray that it will move hearts in a morally just direction. Just as the U.S. region of the Columban Fathers endorses this courageous effort on the part of immigrants and their families, so do we in Britain. We will also be inviting our contacts here to join in prayer and fasting on 11 December in solidarity with yourselves and with immigrants everywhere. In Britain too, immigrant families are often separated, and the Columbans join with the churches in Britain to constantly call for our society to ‘welcome the stranger in our midst’. Peace and blessings to our brothers and sisters involved in this Advent fast on the National Mall.
The Columban JPIC team in Britain.

Immigrants are among the most vulnerable persons in the United States. Every year, 400 die crossing the desert from Mexico into the U.S. Every year, 400,000 immigrants are deported, separating families and depriving children of a breadwinner. The Gospel and the Catholic faith teach us to “Welcome the Stranger in Our Midst.” As members of Justice for Immigrants, a campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Columbans in the U.S. have joined this effort for just and comprehensive immigration reform.