Activists Persist Despite Stalled Immigration Reform Bill

Immigration reform sure looked like a long shot in November.

One of the few Republicans in the House of Representatives openly championing an immigration overhaul said that a bill likely wouldn’t get a vote in 2013.

Even with that bad news, some activists still pressed on. Here’s what happening in November and December (for a full timeline of immigration reform, scroll down)

1. Fasting for Families

A small group of immigration reform supporters restricted themselves to just water for 22 days while camped out on the Mall in late November and early December.

Among them was 67-year-old Eliseo Media, a union leader who lost 20 pounds during the action.

The fasters were visited by President Obama and Vice President Biden, as well as members of Congress, including two Republicans.

2. Kids confront Boehner

Rallying behind a patchwork of alliances — business and labor, tech and agriculture — the Senate passed an immigration bill in June. But House Speaker John Boehner said that he wouldn’t bring that legislation to the floor of the House with the majority support of his party. And that wasn’t happening.

Two young activists decided to call him out, approaching Boehner while he was having breakfast at a Capitol Hill diner.

“How would you feel if you had to tell your kids at the age of ten that you were never coming home?” Carmen Lima, one of the activists, asked Boehner. She said her father had faced deportation.

“That wouldn’t be good,” he responded.

Boehner said that he was “trying to find some way to get this thing done.”

The activists later told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos why they decided to get involved.

3. Trying to shut down ICE offices

Speaking of Boehner, activists recently took to his Ohio district in an attempt to shut down an immigration detention center in Butler County.

Antonio Castanon of the Georgia-based Youth Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform explained their motivation in a statement.

“As both Speaker Boehner and President Obama spend the holidays with their families, we’re here to remind them that we’re fighting for ours and all those who are separated,” he said.

That action was organized by the immigrant-rights group United We Dream, but there have also been shutdowns in Arizona, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and other cities under the #Not1More campaign, a project of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Federal immigration officials typically say the offices remain running as usual, but the actions keep deportations in the public eye.

Here’s the timeline that explains how we got to this point with immigration reform: