Hunger Strike Shows Discontent With Congress
Last Friday, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, visited a group of activists who are staging a hunger strike in hopes of pressuring Congress to pass new immigration laws.
The “Fast for Families” protesters have given up all sustenance except water during their protest, which they hope will force legislators to take up immigration reform measures pending on Capitol Hill.
During his visit with the protesters, Obama said he appreciated the attention they 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.”
This display is a demonstration of legislators acting as trustees rather than delegates, an occurrence that has been detrimental to the interests of the constituency in this instance. Congress is failing to represent its constituents, who are calling for immigration reform. By proactively requesting action from Congress, the protesters are signaling that if legislation is not passed, legislators may be held accountable in upcoming elections.
President 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 have vowed to oppose the bill because they believe it amounts to amnesty for the illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. House Speaker John Boehner has suggested that he will bring up immigration reform measures piecemeal, rather than in a comprehensive bill.