Salvador Zamora never had his meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal, but ended his fast on Friday after being found unresponsive.
Salvador Zamora, a Mexican immigrant who began a hunger strike in opposition to the state’s new immigration reform law, has ended his hunger strike after 70 days. He began the fast on July 1, the day House Bill 87 went into effect as law.
On Friday, Martin Altamirano, a 45-year-old Honduran native who participated in the hunger strike for 12 days, found Zamora unresponsive. He called 911. Emergency responders were able to revive Zamora and he was transported in an ambulance to the hospital where he recovered from dehydration.
“It scared me a lot,” Altamirano said.
Zamora is now at home as he continues his recovery.
Various immigrant rights’ supporters held a celebration of Zamora’s effort on Saturday and brought him food trays and various dishes.
Rich Pellegrino, director of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, stated in a release, “The hunger strike succeeded beyond all expectations in attracting the attention and support of people from all over Georgia, the nation and the world, who, inspired by the sacrifice of the hunger strikers, committed to offer their own sacrifices for this cause of human and immigrant rights.”
After delivering a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal’s office in August, Zamora said he would not stop his hunger strike until he had a meeting with Deal. However, he never heard from Deal’s office and the governor’s communications staff never responded to Patch’s email and phone inquiries about a possible meeting between the two.
Pellegrino said Zamora’s supporters from his organization and Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights were encouraged that one of their stated goals was realized. On Aug. 18, the Obama administration agreed to halt deportation of immigrants who were not criminals, but are “low-priority immigrants like Dream Act-eligible students or those who have familial ties in the country. They would have their cases reviewed, if already involved in deportation proceedings, and possibly be given work permits.
Pellegrino stated this announcement from the Obama administration is “an encouraging first step towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform at the federal level and the dismantling of misguided state laws like HB87.”
Zamora and Altamirano have plans to bring their message to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in hopes that they can find allies there.
Additionally, the duo and their supporters will continue delivering information to immigrants about the new law, and are orchestrating more demonstrations across the country, Altamirano explained.
“We will continue with the pro-immigrant movement and look for ways to continue sending the message to American society…We will continue looking for more people to start a hunger strike in a different state,” said Altamirano.