Hunger Striking at the White House

By Aura Bogado Apr 08, 2014

A group of three people and their supporters began camping out in front of the White House on Saturday, coinciding with a national day of action against continued deportations by Obama’s administration.  And today, they’ve started an indefinite hunger strike. 

Jose Valdez, a 55-year-old construction worker from Arizona already knows what it’s like to stop eating. Valdez, who’s been working with the Puente Movement, participated in a 15-day long hunger strike in Phoenix that started in February–during which time someone threw burritos at him covered in racist slurs. But the bigger blow for Valdez, was that his 31-year-old son Jaime, who was also on a hunger strike at the notorious Eloy Detention Center, was deported. Valdez concluded his strike in March, and is now starting another just a month later.

Jaime Valdez, who says his deportation was retaliation for his participation in the hunger strike at the detention center, turned himself in at the Nogales Port of Entry on April 1, demanding humanitarian parole. Jaime Valdez is now at the Florence Detention Center in Ariz., waiting to hear back to learn whether he will be allowed to reunite with his family. In the meanwhile, his father, hasn’t given up hope.

"I’m in DC hunger striking again to see who will support me," says father Jose Valdez–adding that he didn’t get much support from politicians during his first hunger strike. "I want to know who will help stop deportations and detentions, and who will help provide some kind of relief for undocumented people."

This new hunger strike kicks off as a 48-hour fast wraps up on the National Mall. Some 100 women fasters, organized through the We Belong Together campaign, were visited by several members of Congress today, as they conclude a month-long series of fasts to highlight immigration as a women’s issue.