A man who notably didn't eat for 22 days is coming to Northwest Iowa in an attempt to spur action on the stagnant issue of immigration reform. Eliseo Medina, who fasted for three weeks in late 2013, will speak at a Tuesday event in Sioux Center, with the goal of prodding House Speaker John Boehner to move the issue in that chamber.
The Senate, controlled by Democrats, passed an immigration bill last year that some business groups supported, but the Republican-controlled House remains reluctant to take up the issue.
The 7 p.m. event, described as an evening of "prayer and action," will be hosted by the Center for Assistance, Service and Action of Sioux County.
According to the New York Times, Medina has undertaken some high-profile fasts to draw attention to what he sees as serious issues:
"In 1974, he fasted for 14 days to press a supermarket chain in Cleveland to stop stocking produce picked by nonunion laborers, in a campaign the United Farm Workers eventually won.
And in 2006, Mr. Medina held another fast to support striking janitors at the University of Miami who were organized by the service workers’ union, which he joined in 1986. He suspended that fast after 11 days when the janitors won their contract."
CASA wants to keep the heat on lawmakers, since Boehner last week said Republicans aren't ready to embrace reform that could include what many call amnesty for millions without legal status. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, last week told a Tea Party News Network radio host that he's opposed to reform, which he fears the GOP leadership may nevertheless advance because large businesses in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce back it.
Said King, "I'm happy to promote business, but I'm not one of those folks that's going to be directed by billionaires with big checkbooks, and I think that's part of the division we have today in the Republican Congress."
It is another example where King voices the position of many conservatives, even if at times he knocks heads with Boehner and others.
"It is a messy circumstance to have the internal struggle" within the GOP caucus, King said in the radio interview.
Medina, who lives in Washington D.C., uses fastings to draw attention to issues where gridlock seems to have set in. He continues to travel America to draw attention to immigration reform, with recent events in Cincinnati, Chicago and Houston.
"I’ve seen in my lifetime that change is possible,” he said during the 2013 fast.