On Wednesday, October 14th, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), along with directly impacted immigrant families and national leaders representing faith, labor, civil rights and the community, launched “The Fast to Keep Families Together” – a 9-day fast and vigil outside the courthouse in New Orleans to demand the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rule on the administrative relief case they have been sitting on for almost a year.
The administrative relief programs –Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — were announced by President Obama in November 2014 and, if implemented, could keep an estimated 60,000 Arkansas undocumented families together and provide them with a temporary work permit. Approximately 6,000 Arkansas students have already benefited from the original implementation of DACA put in place in June 2012.
Ms. Mayra Jannet Ramirez is amongst both Arkansas’ DACA recipients and is one of the 11 fasters who have been holding vigil in New Orleans since last week. Ms. Ramirez’ parents brought her to Mountain Home, Arkansas, from Mexico, when she was just two years old. Now, she’s a student at Harvard University. Ms, Ramirez joined that fast because “she lives in constant fear that her parents back in Arkansas — who are undocumented — could be deported without DAPA, leaving her three younger sisters without anyone to care for them.”
Also on October 14, in support of Ms. Ramirez, and as a member of FIRM, Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC)– a local immigrant advocacy group that runs 5 immigrant resource centers across the state– launched a fasting “torch”, in which 10+ Arkansas communities each hosted a 24-hour solidarity fast. 32+ fasters led these Arkansas-based fasts from the communities of: DeQueen, Springdale, Rogers, Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Truman, Dumas, Hermitage, Little Rock, Fort Smith, Waldron, amongst others.
Today is the last day for both the national and state fast.
“Every day the 5th Circuit Court delays its decision, it is making a political choice,” said Mireya Reith, AUCC’s Executive Director. “Tearing families apart to advance an anti-immigrant agenda for political reasons is unacceptable and inhumane and directly impacts Arkansas families and communities.”
WHO: Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC), the national coalition
“Fair Immigration Reform Movement, impacted Arkansas immigrant
families and national leaders representing faith, labor, civil rights, and the
FASTERS: In New Orleans, Ms. Mayra Jannet Ramirez, DACA recipient and
DAPA relative from Arkansas; and 32+ local Arkansans leading their own
24-hour solidarity fasts in Arkansas
WHAT: “The Fast to Keep Families Together”- 9 Days of Fast and Vigil
WHEN: From Wednesday, October 14th – Thursday, October 22nd.
WHERE: Outside 5th Circuit Court. 600 Camp Street. New Orleans, LA 70130
and Communities across Arkansas
- Video of Ms. Ramirez, from Mountain Home, speaking about her motivations to travel to New Orleans https://www.facebook.com/reformimmigrationforamerica/videos/10153182201473779/?fref=nf
- Photos of the 32+ Arkansas-based Fasters explaining why they too fasted and stand in solidarity with Ms. Ramirez https://www.facebook.com/Arkansas-United-Community-Coalition-184442584967912/
- Photos (attached) of the vigil and fast in New Orleans, in which Ms. Ramirez is featured