Updated 12:08 PM EDT, Thu, Jun 17, 2021

Immigration Reform 2013 News: California Activists Begin Five-Day Fast to Push for Immigration Overhaul

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Activists across California are continuing the push to pass immigration reform this year.  Starting on Monday, several dozen protesters began a five-day fast to pressure Congress to pass a comprehensive reform bill and create a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented residents who reside in the country illegally.

On Monday, almost a dozen immigration supporters launched the Fast for Families in Orange County at a demonstration outside of the Brea office of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), reports CBS Los Angeles. Protesters have targeted Rep. Royce since he and other House Republicans earlier this year denied funding for President Obama's deferred action program, which grants work permits and two-year deportation deferrals to young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Fasts have also been organized in Brea, San Bernardino, Modesto and Bakersfield within Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) district, the LA Times reports. McCarthy has declared that there will be no immigration legislation on the floor this year. He has also said he will not support a single comprehensive immigration bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that passed over the summer and would allow those living in the country without permission to apply for citizenship as long as they meet certain requirements.

Supporters of an immigration overhaul say they have the votes in the House to pass a bill like the one approved by the Senate, however, they blame House Repulbicans like Speaker John A. Boehner for refusing to bring a bill to a vote.

Activist Jessica Bravo told CBS's KNX 1070 that she is taking part in the fast to demand lawmakers pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. "They need to hear our voices and hear our strengths and our struggles," said Bravo. "And that is one of the reasons why I'm fasting for the whole five days."

Another activist named Jan Mezlin told KNX that "Everybody has a certain right to be treated with dignity and respect. ... To be able to get a job and not live in fear."

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