“I was feeling weak and dizzy, it’s weird to describe,” said 45-year-old Altamirano, who told the Journal last month he was willing to continue his hunger strike until death, if necessary. “Now that Salvador is healthy and better, I would like to start back (on the hunger strike) around (Aug. 15).”
Cobb Immigrant Alliance Director Rich Pellegrino organized a press conference for the pair on July 12, the day Altamirano quit the fast.
Doctors told Zamora to take his vitamins with yogurt, Altamirano said.
“I feel weak,” Zamora said. “Sometimes it’s very hard for me to get up and walk, and sometimes I’m sleepy.”
Zamora, who walked from California to Washington, D.C., in support of immigration reform, said fasting was “easier in some ways, but harder on me mentally.”
Pellegrino said that while Zamora and Altamirano initially started the hunger strike with a list of goals, now the two just want to meet with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
“With our support, Salvador will be delivering a letter to request a meeting with the governor and some representatives about our concerns and the impact of HB 87,” Pellegrino said. “The letter is not complete. We are going to draft it over the weekend and will try to deliver it on Tuesday.”
Zamora said that he plans to fast as long as it takes.
“I hope that they can come through … get Governor Deal to talk to us,” Zamora said “I’m very positive that we can get it. I just hope it’s not another two months.”
Zamora said that if they do meet with Gov. Deal, he would like to discuss what he calls the “inhumanity” of HB 87.
“It’s not necessary to put fear in our people,” he said.
Zamora said the community has responded positively to the hunger strike.
“At first, about 70 or 80 percent were against it, but now more people show that they are not against us,” Zamora said. “We do not resent against the people who are against us, we just want them to think very clearly. I think that many of them, they are also misinformed.”
“About the kids, there is some misinformation,” Altamirano said. “American people believe that the kids are receiving a free ride (by attending American schools) … but the families are renting their house, paying a mortgage and taxes from that are paying for the education.”
“I understand, since the beginning of coming here, that I needed to learn the language,” Zamora said. “We need to teach our people, so that (American-born citizens) don’t see us as different.”
“I am also aware that in order for us to do good and have our rights respected, we need to do good and contribute to this nation,” Zamora said. “As immigrants, we need to obey the laws that are good for us.”
Altamirano moved to the United States about 18 years ago and is in the U.S. Temporary Protected Status program. Zamora moved to the U.S. on his own at 16 from Mexico and is a U.S. citizen.
On July 12, both men said while they have no desire to die, they will strike until they see change, even if that means death.
“It’s a very common question from people about this situation,” Altamirano said at the time. “The thing is, Christianity is based on a carpenter that died for the brothers. I don’t know why people don’t get used to the idea that someone sacrificed for the will of others. I’m willing to do that.”
Immigration activist D.A. King questioned Zamora’s motivations.
“Back here on planet Earth, while holding my sides from laughter, all of this is making it very difficult to eat my chili dog,” King said. “As I suspect many others are, I have to ask if Zamora is really a non-eating, Kamikaze, anti-enforcement activist, or maybe has more in common with Pinocchio and is under the spell of the great thinkers in local theatre, Rich Pellegrino. I wish them all happy landings, but urge more fact-checking on their script. Not many are fooled about this character’s latest meal but most of us look forward with a yawn to see what’s next from Pellegrino and both of his followers. Can we assume this is at least an admission that angrily marching in the streets is not going to stop enforcement of American immigration laws?”