Fourteen day hunger strike ends

June 28, 2010 9:22:49 PM PDT
Three women have been camped outside in downtown Raleigh for the past two weeks, all in hopes of garnering support for a federal bill that they say is the first step toward immigration reform.However during the strike, one woman, Loida Silva, was taken to the hospital after she became ill. She is now unable to continue her efforts with her fellow strikers.

Silva says dangerously hot temperatures took its toll on her by Sunday night.

"I was shaking," she said. "I couldn't feel my legs."

The 22-year-old undocumented woman is recovering at home after being treated at WakeMed for dehydration, the end to a hunger strike she says she was on for a greater good.

"I'm not doing this just for myself," Silva said. "I'm doing this for my friends, for the millions of students that this bill will affect.

The bill is the Dream Act --a piece of federal legislation that's in Congress right now and would provide people like Silva, who were brought to the country as children and who are now in the U.S. illegally, a conditional path to citizenship.

"We are not asking for a free pass to citizenship, we are asking for a chance to earn it ourselves," she said.

Silva and two other women started the hunger strike in hopes of getting Senator Kay Hagen to support the Dream Act.

"This is not a political matter, this is a moral crisis," Silva said.

Senator Hagen has released a statement saying in part, "I believe the Dream Act should be considered in the context of comprehensive immigration reform."

Silva says Hagen's words are difficult to swallow.

"If you can't pass the Dream Act, how do you expect to pass immigration reform," she said.

On Monday night, dozens gathered at the campsite where the hunger strike has been taking place, to honor the three women who have braved the elements for change. Silva watched from home and says it is only the beginning.

"I'm not going to stop this doesn't stop at the end of the hunger strike," Silva said. "I will make sure that there is change."

The other two young women are continuing on with the hunger strike and are still in their tents in downtown Raleigh.

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