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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mayor Emanuel, Why Again Are You Fasting on Friday?

Mayor Emanuel is acting like a Marrano without persecution.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday plans to start a 24-hour fast to show support for immigration reform efforts in Washington, D.C.

The mayor and some members of the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus plan to go without food from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Friday. They'll begin fasting at an evening mass in honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Pius Church in the Pilsen neighborhood.

The local fast comes as activists from immigrant rights groups have taken turns fasting in the National Mall in Washington since last month to try to pressure Congress into approving a reform bill.

The Senate approved a sweeping, bipartisan immigration bill over the summer, but it has stalled in the House. Republicans who control the chamber are divided over providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. without legal status. An immigration vote is not expected this month as congressional leaders focus on securing approval for a budget deal before heading home for the holidays.

In a statement, Emanuel talked about why he'll go without food for 24 hours.

“On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we join people from all over the country who are making an incredible sacrifice to remind our leaders what is at stake in the fight for immigration reform,” he said. “We are sending a clear message to Congress that the time is now for comprehensive immigration reform, it just cannot wait any longer.”

For Emanuel, the fast also represents a way to respond to lingering criticism about his involvement on the immigration issue when he was serving as President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff. Emanuel is viewed as steering Obama away from an immigration reform push during his first year in office because it would have been politically difficult to get a bill through Congress. The president instead focused on health care and what became the Affordable Care Act.

Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, also plans to take part in the fast.

“Every day I see how our country’s broken immigration system affects undocumented families in my ward, whether its parents taking their kids to school, entrepreneurs running their businesses, or people living their lives, no one should live in the shadows,” Solis said in a statement. “I’m proud to stand with the mayor and my fellow City Council members to let Washington know that their unacceptable inaction is tearing families apart in cities and neighborhoods across the country.”

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC


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