Jews & Muslims to Fast in Solidarity with Nation’s 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants

December 4, 2013

Two of America’s leading Jewish and Muslim organizations today called on supporters to engage in a national day of fasting on Friday, Dec. 6, in support of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. 

MPAC and Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice are organizing the fast in order to demonstrate the depth of support for comprehensive immigration reform. Participants seek to awaken the compassion of members of Congress and urge them to address the crisis of an immigration system that undermines our national values, our faiths, and belief in justice. In fasting together, MPAC and Bend the Arc are continuing their united push to refocus Congress’ attention on the need for reform.   

RSVP for the fast today!

Elected leaders have heeded the call to show their support for immigration reform. Both a Jewish and Muslim member of Congress have pledged to fast Friday, Dec. 6 in a show of solidarity with those already fasting. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) have stated their participation in order to highlight this important issue.

The following is a joint statement from Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC's Washington, DC, office, and Hadar Susskind, Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action

“Jews and Muslims share the tradition of fasting to mark especially important and somber occasions. Our two communities are fasting together now to remind Congress that every day Congress drags its feet on fixing our broken immigration system, another 1,100 people are deported.
“Together we are drawing upon Judaism and Islam’s oldest traditions to atone for Congressional obstruction, to better understand and mourn the loss that thousands of families have suffered in being unjustly separated, and to deepen our resolve to continue the fight for immigration reform. Through the pain that comes from fasting, Jews and Muslims reconnect with our most basic level of humanity and in doing so, we find new capacity for compassion, generosity and mercy. 
“Jews and Muslims across the country have brought the message of supporting immigration reform to our representatives loud and clear. Over the past months, we have attended town hall meetings, written letters, made phone calls, met with leaders in Washington, and rallied by the hundreds in our districts and by the thousands on the National Mall. Still, we have not been heard. Now we are fasting, in the hope that this day of discomfort will force Congress to wake up to the real suffering faced by thousands of families across the country.
“We fast in solidarity with young Dreamers who went on a hunger strike for humane conditions in their detention center, and with the thousands of children who hunger for their families to be reunited.  We fast to appeal to the humanity of our elected leaders and urge them to end needless suffering of thousands by passing comprehensive immigration reform right away.”

Both MPAC and Bend the Arc have been active in advocating for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, citing shared values of treating others with dignity and respect, and the importance of keeping families together.

This fall, MPAC launched its national campaign for comprehensive immigration reform, “A Nation of Immigrants: Realizing Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” which includes a policy paper and community toolkit. The policy paper details the cracks in the current immigration landscape, provides background on the Senate bill, and includes a series of policy recommendations. The community toolkit provides practical guidance about how to get involved in immigration reform on a local level by working with other groups locally, engaging media and meeting with members of Congress. 

MPAC has also organized community forums focusing on the political and social impact of immigration reform, which brought together members of Congress, White House immigration experts and immigration law practitioners. These town halls serve as an opportunity for American Muslims to support a comprehensive and just immigration reform.

Throughout the summer and fall, Bend the Arc organized America’s Jewish community around the issue of immigration, arranging meetings between Jewish leaders and congressional staff, hosting immigration-themed Shabbats, organizing petitions, and participating in marches, vigils, and town halls to deliver the message that immigration reform is a top priority for Jewish voters. Bend the Arc’s rabbi in residence was arrested at a national demonstration for immigration reform alongside members of Congress and during an act of civil disobedience on the National Mall. 

Bend the Arc’s website,, aims to make the experience of those caught in the opaque bureaucracy of today’s immigration system more accessible by enabling visitors to put their own family histories into the system and see if they would be denied.



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