In the Jewish tradition, calling a fast is like sounding a moral alarm, a wake-up call. This was the reminder a rabbi gave this morning at St. Peter's Lutheran Church on Manhattan's east side, on the second day of a three-day fast for immigration reform.
More than fifty immigrant community members, clergy, advocates and members of New York City Council have embarked on a 72-hour fast, demanding immigration reform before the end of the year. Each day of the fast will highlight contributions immigrants have made both to New York City in particular and the country in general. Day one of the fast was launched at Clifton Castle, Battery Park City, with the Statue of Liberty as backdrop. On day three, more than one hundred high school students will gather to draw attention to the Dream Act. Additionally, the fast will point out the need for changes in immigration policy on both a national and local level.
Coalition organizers have stepped up the campaign to end New York's collaboration with immigration enforcement at Rikers Island. In a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City outlined a three-step process for the Department of Corrections to be removed from the deportation process. First, stop using the city's resources to detain New Yorkers on civil immigration charges. Second, the Department of Corrections should refrain from participating in civil immigration investigations. Third, agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be required to adhere to a strict code of conduct in return for providing access to DOC detainees. Here's hoping that the advice is heeded.