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Fast For Families’ Comes To Vista

Evening Edition

A national bus tour for comprehensive immigration reform made a stop in the North County on Wednesday night. Dozens of community members and immigration activists gathered in Vista for "Fast for Families Across America."

The event was part of a six-week cross-country road trip that is a sequel to a "Fast for Families" protest held last year on the National Mall.

As the bus stops in more than 100 congressional districts, community members are invited to fast for the day in an effort to reinvigorate the immigration movement. There are about 11 million undocumented residents in the U.S.

An overwhelming sense of solidarity filled the room. Pieces from a border quilt were on display capturing scenes of border crossings. Some paid tribute to those that died trying.

San Diego residents like Gladys Dominguez shared their stories. After living in the U.S. for decades, Dominguez's father abruptly was deported to Mexico. When he attempted a border crossing through the desert, he died.

"It broke my family, but it also made us stronger," Dominguez said. "We're more united now, but it would've been better if he was still here with us and spending time with us."

Cristian Avila is riding on the bus and fasted for 22 days last year. He received temporary legal status under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But he remains an undocumented immigrant.

"It's a daily struggle. It's when reality slaps you in the face every time you walk out the door, every time your parents walk out the door just to know there's a chance your not going to see them home for dinner," Avila said.

While getting Congress to act on immigration is the primary goal, San Diego native Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Community Coalition, said whether or not that happens the immigration reform movement will continue to grow.

"And if those in power do not want to change the laws, then we will walk, we will march, we will starve ourselves to make sure the message is heard," he said.

The Fast for Families bus traveled to San Francisco on Thursday and heads to Arizona on Friday. At the end of the night, a candle light vigil and prayer sent activists on their way.

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