About a dozen Democrats, mostly Californians, left the Capitol on Thursday to check on the two dozen people fasting on the lawn over President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of Downey said the members wanted to let the people who were fasting know they are not alone and “there are people in Congress, in positions of power fighting for them every single day.”
Organized by Center for Community Change and United We Dream, the fasting DACA recipients wanted to be a visual reminder after Trump decided this week to end the program that gives legal status to about 800,000 people brought to the country illegally as children.
“We are here, see us, hear us,” said Center for Community Change spokeswoman Jasmine Nazarett. “The fasters are giving up everything, they are giving up food for four days to call attention, as an appeal to the moral core of the country, of the president, of the Congress.”
Nazarett said the fast began Tuesday morning just before Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions made the announcement about the program's phaseout and will end Friday evening with broth and Jell-O.
The fasting DACA recipients, also known as "Dreamers," traveled from places like Arkansas, Colorado, New York, Arizona and California. Throughout the week, they went into the House and Senate office buildings to try to meet with members of Congress.
Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles said she felt an emotional connection to a group of young people willing to travel across the country and put themselves at risk.
“They put themselves physically at risk — the fast — and they put themselves at risk because who’s to say ICE won’t come right there and scoop them up right now,” Bass said. “So, the least we could do is to show them solidarity by coming out and letting them know we support them.”