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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Friday, December 06, 2013

Immigration Activists End a Fast on the National Mall

New York Times
By Emmarie Huetteman and Julia Preston
December 3, 2013

WASHINGTON — A longtime labor leader and two other advocates of an immigration overhaul ended their water-only fasts on Tuesday in a tent on the National Mall, the 22nd day of an effort to press the House to take up legislation on the issue.

In a ceremony choreographed to evoke the civil rights and farmworker movements of the 1960s, the labor leader, Eliseo Medina, 67, took a bite of bread and a sip of apple juice. Looking tired, Mr. Medina did not speak during the event. Afterward, he rose and walked away, leaning on the arm of another advocate.

Mr. Medina, a senior official in the Service Employees International Union, made a symbolic handoff to Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, Democrat of Massachusetts, who said he would fast for 24 hours. The scene was reminiscent of the end of a 25-day fast in 1968 by Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers, who received his first food from Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Representative Kennedy’s grandfather.

About a dozen Democratic lawmakers were on hand Tuesday to show support, including the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, and Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez also attended.

Cristian Avila, 23, a student from Arizona, and Dae Joong Yoon, 43, the executive director of a Korean immigrant organization in Los Angeles, also ended their fasts. Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners, a religious group, ended a three-week fast in which she had been drinking juice.

In a statement, the activists said they had “succeeded in raising awareness about families being ripped apart by deportation.” But they acknowledged that the protest had not produced any action in the House. They said Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio had not responded to invitations to meet with them.

Mr. Boehner’s office said Tuesday that the speaker had hired Rebecca Tallent, the immigration policy director of the Bipartisan Policy Center, to handle immigration issues. Although House Republican leaders have said there is not enough time to move forward on immigration before the end of the year, Mr. Boehner’s choice of Ms. Tallent appeared to signal that he planned House action in 2014.

Mr. Boehner “remains hopeful” about immigration legislation, his spokesman, Michael Steel, said Tuesday. “Our House committees are going to continue their work to make progress on that goal,” Mr. Steel said.

Ms. Tallent is a former chief of staff for Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was an author of a broad immigration bill that passed the Senate this year. Mr. Boehner has said the House will not consider the Senate bill.

But the Bipartisan Policy Center, a research group in Washington, has mobilized Republicans like Jeb Bush of Florida and Haley Barbour of Mississippi, both former governors, to support immigration legislation that includes legal status for immigrants here illegally. Ms. Tallent has criticized immigration advocates like the ones who fasted for adopting tactics that she says are not persuasive to conservative Republicans.

Also on Tuesday, seven other advocates in Washington began what they said would be longer fasts, while Rudy Lopez, an immigration activist in his 13th day of fasting, said he would continue. Activists in California said they would start a two-week fast and vigil at the offices in Bakersfield of Representative Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 House Republican.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

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