California readers of this blog may be interested to learn of a rising trend in protest methods — the hunger strike. Many protestors are using this age-old method to underscore their fervent belief that immigration reform is needed desperately. By fasting, they hope to draw attention to an issue they say is in critical need of change.
One recent event centered on deportation and detention issues. The group that took part in the protest fasted for just over two weeks to make their point. They say they will continue their efforts.
Many of the protestors using this non-violent form of civil disobedience are trying to force a change to the laws governing deportation. They also want officials to pave the way for the more than 10 million people living as illegal aliens to remain here legally. They say hunger strikes are one way to publicize the problem.
Critics and naysayers refer to the recent emergence of increased hunger strikes as protest theater. They say public fasting is a way to play on people’s emotions but has limited relevance to practical applications. They don’t think it bears any resemblance to the manner in which immigration laws are carried out and, therefore, will have little to no impact.
A national campaign is scheduled to begin next month. Sponsored by a group focused on immigration rights, planned events include hunger strikes, walks and non-violent protests. Many of them will focus on deportation and detention issues.
Studies show the number of deportations taking place declined through September of last year in California and the rest of the country. The figures represent a 10 percent drop in deportations, which makes them the lowest recorded since the start of 2009. For those people living in fear that their illegal status could one day be discovered, the trend is a particularly welcome one.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, Why pro-immigrant activists are turning to hunger strikes, Lourdes Medrano, March 8, 2014