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Man On 41-Day Hunger Strike Asks For Meeting With Georgia's Governor

Salvador Zamora's hunger strike began the day Georgia's immigration law went into effect. Yesterday, on the 40th day of his strike, Zamora, pushed in a wheelchair by a cadre of fellow activists, delivered a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's office.

"My immigrant body, already weakened from years of toil and damaging work in tomato fields, grows increasingly compromised after 40 days of fasting with a loss of 30 pounds," Zamora wrote in his letter. "However, I have been left with no alternative method of protest. Therefore, I sacrifice my body over what I firmly believe is an immoral law."

HB 87 is a law that like many passed in other states penalizes government officials who violate laws on immigration enforcement and requires businesses to use E-verify. Deal campaigned for governor saying he would pass an Arizona-style immigration law.

Zamora, a Mexican immigrant who became a U.S. citizen, said he would consider ending his strike if the governor meets with him. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

The governor's office confirmed receiving the letter, but it was unclear late Tuesday if Deal would meet with Zamora, Channel 2 reports.

Zamora is supported in his hunger strike by the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and other organizations.

"Salvador is determined to continue his hunger strike, risking even death, until Governor Deal agrees to meet with him about the effects of HB 87 on all the residents of Georgia," Cobb Alliance spokesman Rich Pellegrino said in a news release.

Right before he delivered the letter, Zamora told Atlanta's WSBTV that he wanted to talk to the governor about the law and tell him, "These laws are not good not only for the immigrant community, but are not go for Georgia."

"I'm not worried about me," he added. "I'm worried about my people."

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.