November 29th, 2013
12:34 PM ET
9 months ago

Obama visits protesters fasting in support of immigration reform

Washington (CNN) - President Obama paid a visit Friday to a group of activists who have been fasting for weeks in the hopes of pressuring Congress to pass new immigration laws.

The President and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, visited the group on the National Mall to lend support for the cause. The "Fast for Families" protesters have given up all sustenance except water during their protest, which they hope will force lawmakers to take up immigration reform measures pending on Capitol Hill.

During his visit, Obama said he appreciated the attention the protesters were bringing to the issue, and that he was optimistic immigration reform could pass.

The President has pushed for an overhaul to the nation's immigration system, most recently during a speech in San Francisco on Monday. He praised the fasting protesters during those remarks, saying the group was "sacrificing themselves in an effort to get Congress to act."

"I want them to know we hear you. We're with you. The whole country hears you," Obama said during his remarks in California.

Other top White House officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, chief of staff Denis McDonough and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett have also dropped in on the group in the last week.

Cecilia Munoz, the director of Obama's domestic policy council, wrote on the White House blog that during her visit, the fasters "described empty stomachs but full hearts as they receive an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity."

Related: Obama said he can't stop deportations of immigrants, but maybe he can

Obama has been pushing for the changes to immigration for the past several months after a bipartisan Senate plan failed to gain traction in the Republican-controlled House. The measure calls for an eventual pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the United States while ramping up border security measures.

Some Republicans in Congress say the citizenship element amounts to amnesty, and have vowed to oppose it. House Speaker John Boehner has hinted he'll bring up immigration reform measures individually, rather than in a comprehensive bill.


Filed under: Immigration • President Obama
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Michigan - well we also have the fact that patriot means, patriot. Yet you demean that term by using it as a name for your malignant hogwash. So if you can misplace 'patriot' within your name, we certainly can give another look at the people who are here illegally, lured here knowingly over many years by corporate-Americ's promise of jobs.

    November 29, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Just wondering where in this article does it say they are illegal? Also Obama has deported more illegals than Bush has. Yes at one time we all immigrated here from another county, doing it illegal is wrong though

    November 29, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    TOo many people given a falsa c0mment no no no nody recives food stamp with out aa social secuty no one

    November 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Right wingnuts really need to read the senate bipartisan immigration bill, and not take as gospel what the right wing crazy media machine at a Fox is selling. You baggers are getting upset for no reason.

    November 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Hector Slagg

    rs,
    It was back during the BUSH Adminstration when it was tried. The last one that passed the Senate is going nowhere, as the first one did. No Amnesty! Sorry !!

    November 29, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Bo

    Let bem starve. It's their choice.

    November 29, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Bo

    Michelle watches with a big gut sticking out.

    November 29, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Bo – Love your crazy right wing nut hate posts against the first lady. You truly are a piece of work.

    November 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. dfenestrator

    He's chewing the fat with illegals, meanwhile we're literally just an 'incident' away from a war with China.

    This guy just can't figure out the difference between a priority and a 'photo-op'. God Help Us.

    November 29, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Lady Fair – Are posting as "Fair is fair?" Wow, just wow.

    November 29, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Can you spell xenophobia?

    November 29, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Maybe we should stage a hunger strike until Obama repeals Obamacare.

    November 29, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Hal Jacobs PGA

    Let them starve. Less that will be on government assistance since they are CLEARLY not working anyway. It's a win – win.

    November 29, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Name

    God bless you. Empty stomach but as each day passes, hungrier for immigration reform. This country constantly preaches about the importance of family values and its impact in out children and society, and yet, the practice it's opposite by tearing families apart and depriving children from growing in a family oriented environment.
    It takrs courage to do what you guys are doing for the restof us. I wish they could see that some of us are here not only to fulfill our dreams but also to contribute to this country and help it progress.
    Thank you for fighting for our rights, you are the true definition of real Heroes.

    November 29, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. ben

    As soon as they all go back we can start working a good immigration bill.

    November 29, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. The right is so, so wrong

    Jeff – "Maybe we should stage a hunger strike until Obama repeals Obamacare."
    ***********************************************
    Go for it! Even if it takes the rest of his term!! Can you get all your teabagger friends to do it, too!!! Would be the best thing you could do for the future of America!!!!

    November 29, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Mikey

    The day after Thanksgiving and the hate mongering un-Christian right is in full bloom.

    November 29, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Jeff – By all means, start your hunger strike until Obamacare is repealed.

    November 29, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. fuName

    God bless those ppl , even thou republicans forget the they coming from immigrants because a real American is indian not white

    November 29, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. ocimar dasilva

    the only American citizen oppose immigration reform. the are only one , they are .. LOSER...

    November 29, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Fake_Tony

    Never reward bad or illegal behaviour unless you want more bad or illegal behaviour.

    November 29, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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