Supporters of three Latina women on a hunger strike said health and safety concerns prompted them to end their two-week fast Monday night.
“The medical situation was getting pretty dangerous, as well as safety concerns,” said Domenic Powell, one of the N.C. Dream Team members who has kept a blog of their efforts.
One of the strikers, Loida Silva, fell ill was taken to the hospital Sunday night after suffering an apparent heat stroke.
Powell also said that the strikers had been contacted by someone known to be a sexual predator.
“It was becoming more apparent that it was wise not to proceed forward in that way,” Powell said.
Silva is doing well, Powell said, adding that the Dream Team is glad to see all three back home.
The N.C. Dream Team was formed earlier this year to support the federal DREAM Act. DREAM is an acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. It would allow the children of illegal immigrants to gain temporary legal status while they attend college or go into the military. Then they could begin the process of citizenship.
The strikers have yet to succeed in one of their goals. They weren’t able to get a commitment from U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., to sign on as a cosponsor of the DREAM Act.
Hagan said that she supports considering aspects of the DREAM Act as a part of comprehensive immigration reform.
Powell said that the act should be considered separately, since there’s a greater likelihood of getting the DREAM Act passed than comprehensive immigration reform.
“It’s like saying you’re going to win a baseball game by hitting home runs,” Powell said. He said the DREAM Act had more bipartisan support than comprehensive immigration reform.
They feel like the hunger strike, which lasted two weeks, did advance their cause.
“I think it brought a lot of awareness to the DREAM Act and immigration reform in general,” said Powell, a recent UNC Chapel Hill graduate who now lives in Carrboro. “There’s been a lot of discussion of comprehensive immigration reform.”
Powell said that the Dream Team would continue to raise awareness about the act.
“We’re all very excited to be moving forward together,” Powell said.