05/15/2013 05:33 pm ET Updated Jul 15, 2013

Why I Am Fasting to Keep Families Together

Today, I plan to join my neighbors in Homestead, Florida, who are going a week without food to demand a stop to the deportations that are tearing apart our families and communities. The fast is part of the National Fast to say "Not One More Deportation." In cities like Homestead, Florida where I have lived for most f my life, so many families have suffered because of the broken immigration system and have experienced humiliating raids almost every day. This can all change if our politicians, including our President, do what they are supposed to do.

I decided to fast because of what happened to my family. I have lived in South Florida for 14 years, graduating from high school here and studying Culinary Arts at a local community college. I was nine years old when my family came to the United States. Like a lot of my neighbors and friends, they came here looking for a better life and a better environment for their children. When I was old enough, I started working as a cook at a restaurant.

My husband did the same, working really hard as a farmworker picking the beans, eggplants and other vegetables that the country eats everyday. If families like ours never did the work that we do in this country, many people wouldn't have the food they have on their tables. But now my husband is fighting to stay in the United States, even though this is the only country he has known for the past eight years. While as a DREAMer I qualify for deferred action, my husband doesn't have the same opportunity. Everyday, we wake up wondering if we will be together or not. After my husband was detained by immigration, I decided that I need to do something to create a change. So many children I know in Homestead are being raised without one of their parents. So many families are struggling to eat because the person that earned the money in the family is no longer around.

If immigration reform passes it may benefit my family, friends and neighbors, but only if we are still in the country. In the meantime, the president and politicians should show us that they are serious about reform by stopping the separation of families that would benefit from the proposals they say they want to pass. We need change now. Some of us want that change so much we are willing to stop eating so that our politicians know that we are serious.

I have lived in this country long enough to know that I love it. But when our families, friends and neighbors work hard everyday and still have to be afraid of raids in their own neighborhoods and homes, it feels a lot like the countries we came from. Today, I will fast with hope for better policies, a better immigration system and a better opportunity for our families.