Portland’s two-day portion of a national fast, “Not one more deportation,” was held Thursday and today at St. Andrew Church. Fasters will break their hunger strike today at 5 p.m.
The fast demands that President Obama immediately suspend all deportations, and that Democrats and Republicans pass immigration reform that is inclusive of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States.
A press conference opened the two-day fasting yesterday. Panelists were: Greg Margolis and Camilo Marquez, from Jobs with Justice; Francisco Aguirre, from Voz; Abdias Cortez, one of the women who was arrested during the now-infamous Del Monte raid in 2007 Portland; Rosie Gómez, Oregon Dream Activist, and John Munzón, Voz lawyer and advocate.
St. Andrew Parish was chosen as the location for the fast because the parish has played in integral role in helping and supporting the families affected by the Del Monte raid.
The fast movement started in California on May 1 and will finish in August in Seattle.
During the two-day event, 15 people are fasting. They stayed at the church overnight, in solidarity and prayer.
Supporters are invited to come to St. Andrew, at 806 NE Alberta St., today at 5 p.m. to drop off food donations and financial contributions to support Voz’s workers rights education program.
Francisco Aguirre from Voz said he knows how hard it is to be detained, far away from home and family.
“Going to bed every night, my dream is that this doesn't happens again,” he said. “Today we can stop our lives, have time and reflect and we can make a change."
Romeo Sosa said he wanted a reform for day labors, for the woman who work in the service industry, and for every single worker that comes to the United States.
“Our message is very clear: no more deportation, no more separation of families, no more people in jail for not having a legal status,” he said.
In 2012, an average of 1,100 people were deported every day, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data.
Abdias Cortez who had been without a job since the raid in Del Monte. She said that this is time to make a difference.
“I know how hard it is for a mother and women to be detained in jail and after that not being able to work,” she said. “I have to support my family in Mexico and I cannot work. I'm here fasting to see if we can make a difference and to support my community. We have to ask that no one more is detained.”