Washington (CNN) - Rep. Joe Kennedy III on Tuesday joined a fast aimed at encouraging the House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
The freshman Democratic congressman from Massachusetts is among six activists who will replace current members of the "Fast for Families" group, many of whom are too weak to continue after 22 days of foregoing any sustenance except water. The group has been camped out on the National Mall to protest the lack of progress on immigration measures pending in the House.
"We are a nation of immigrants and we are stronger and better because of it," Kennedy said, first in Spanish, then English. Kennedy spoke before a crowd of nearly 100 onlookers and several members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.
The movement has also garnered attention from President Barack Obama, who stopped by the group's tent last Friday to express his support.
As a historical note, Kennedy's grandfather, Robert F. Kennedy, helped bring Cesar Chavez to the national eye when he joined the farm worker leader at the end of his 1968 fast, which lasted for 25 days.
The Democratic led Senate passed a comprehensive bill in June, with some bipartisan support, that would tighten immigration and border security laws while providing an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but the measure's gained little traction in the Republican controlled House.
House Speaker John Boehner has said the House will not take up the Senate bill, instead taking a piecemeal approach to passing legislation. It is unclear, however, if any immigration related bills will be on the agenda before the current Congress recesses at the end of the year.
- CNN's Z. Byron Wolf contributed to this report.