Congresswoman fasts for immigration reform

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A Minnesota Democrat is going without food Tuesday as an act of solidarity with fasting immigration reform activists.

Rep. Betty McCollum is joining the group Fast for Families — a hunger strike organized to pressure for a comprehensive immigration reform bill — during its “National Days to Act, Fast and Pray.”

The immigrant activists participating in the effort have been fasting since Nov. 12.

In June, the Senate passed a large comprehensive immigration bill. Efforts in the House have gone more slowly as GOP leaders have adopted a more piecemeal strategy to immigration reform. And given the few remaining legislative days this year, there will likely be no resolution to immigration by the end of 2013.

Still, McCollum, an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, in announcing her fast charged that the House must pass immigration reform this year.

“Congress should heed their wisdom and move swiftly towards passing legislation that establishes the immigration system our nation needs,” she said.

Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists have visited with the fasting immigration leaders — many of whom are staying in tents on the National Mall — in recent weeks, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, feminist hero Gloria Steinem, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Shumer, the others.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky also said she would participate, fasting for a day.

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have also visited with the fasters.

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