Why I’m Hungry for Justice

Children of Immigrants

Wendy FastToday marks the final day of my participation in the women’s fast for families, a 48-hour fast comprised of over 100 women, all fasting to urge Congress and the President to keep families together by passing immigration reform and putting an end to the suffering of our community by stopping deportations.

I’ve been humbled the past two days by the amazing women I’ve met during this fast. Because of their stories and their courage, I feel more hungry for justice than I do for food. Here are some of their stories:

  • A mother whose son, a high school student at the time, was deported shortly after being stopped for a minor traffic violation. He attempted to re-enter a few weeks ago and he is currently being held in immigration detention. Her daughter refuses to apply for DACA because she feels it is unfair that she be granted deferred action while her brother cannot.
  • A woman from Nevada whose family was ordered deported after they had been notified too late about their final immigration hearing. While her husband was recently granted a stay of removal, she was denied because of leaving in 2011 due to the death of her father. She is currently awaiting an immigration hearing, and is fearful of being separated from her family. Her daughter can barely concentrate in school because she is worried about her mom being deported.
  • A single mom who has lived in the United States for over 25 years. Last year she learned that she had an outstanding order of deportation that she had never known about. Her children are 13 and 18 years old. She does not have any other family to care of them if she were to be deported. She is fearful for her children’s safety and well-being.
  • A pregnant woman who was detained when immigration came to her home searching for another person. Despite the fact that she had no criminal record and she was not the person who they were looking for, she was detained when she was three months pregnant. She nearly had a miscarriage while in custody and required medical care. Six months later, she was forced to leave the country with her U.S. citizen baby after signing her voluntary departure.

These stories reflect the reality of millions of women around the country. Women who are done waiting for change. Women who are calling on the President to provide their families with immediate relief so their children no longer have to live in fear and for Congress to pass immigration reform so their families can have long-term security. All the women who have fasted these past two days with me—these mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters—know better than anyone the suffering that children and families endure every day that our nation’s leaders delay on taking action.

Therefore, I dedicate my fast to the 11 million aspiring citizens who work hard every day to build this great country; to the 5.5 million children who live in fear every day of being separated from a parent, and to the courageous women who have nourished me these past two days with their love, faith, and courage.