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Activists end immigration fast; others take up cause

Sapped by three weeks of a water-only diet, three activists for immigration reform ended their fasts on December 3 with a morsel of bread blessed by a priest and “passed the fast on” to others who hope to keep attention focused on the issue.

“You have truly put your faith in action,” said retired Washington archbishop Theodore McCarrick, one in a small crowd of political and clerical dignitaries who came to the National Mall to praise those who have gone without food in a bid to pressure Republican House leaders to pass an immigration reform bill.

Seated alongside the fasters at the event were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.; Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.).

In recent weeks, the fasters have attracted high-profile visitors, including President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, to the heated tents where they have been living on the National Mall.

Fast for Families, organized by a broad coalition of labor, immigrant and Christian groups, will now enter a new phase. As the original group of fasters begin to recover from the physical ordeal, a larger group—many of them political and pastoral celebrities—will take up the cause. —RNS

This article was edited on December 20, 2013.

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