On Monday, the first five chain fasters in the Ayuno y Oracion en Contra de la Militarización y a Favor de Ciudadanía began their 24 hour fast at La Union del Pueblo Entero's San Juan office during a lunch time kick off event. The fasters are Maria Trujillo, Felipe Carillo, Leticia Sanchez, Carolina Ruiz and Veronica Villarreal.
Leticia Sanchez, a 15 year resident of the Rio Grande Valley and member of LUPE, shared her motivations for fasting: “This country has given me a lot, but it has also taken a lot away. My mother died crossing the river on her way to visit me.”
Reforms to immigration and border enforcement should treat everyone with the compassion they deserve as human beings, which includes safe means for families to reunite.
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As border militarization has increased, migrants with no safe means of crossing have been pushed to ever more dangerous crossing points. If more border militarization passes into law, more migrants like Leticia's mother will lose their lives trying to reunite with their loved ones.
Leticia continued, “Now all of my children have deferred action and I don't want to be separated from them. I need protection from deportation, too.”
Leticia said that immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and without border militarization is important so that Valley residents can live in peace.
At the same hour Monday, the Cameron County-based immigrant rights organization Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos began the fast chain in Brownsville.