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President Obama Visits Immigration Activists Staging Hunger Strike

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"Sacrificing themselves in an effort to get Congress to act."

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit with individuals who are taking part in Fast for Families on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. Obama met with the group who are fasting on behalf of immigration reform. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama on Friday visited a group of activists who say they have had nothing to eat or drink for the past 18 days except water in an effort to urge Congress to pass new immigration laws.

The activists were set up in a white tent on the National Mall, and according to the Associated Press, a top labor organizer is among their ranks. They are part of a group called "Fast for Families."

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visit with individuals who are taking part in Fast for Families on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

According to CNN, President Obama told the protesters he was optimistic immigration reform could pass.

"The president told them that it is not a question of whether immigration reform will pass, but how soon," a White House official added. "He said that the only thing standing in the way is politics, and it is the commitment to change from advocates like these brave fasters that will help pressure the House to finally act."

A message from President Barack Obama official Twitter account is seen outside the tent used by members of Fast for Families on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met with the group who are fasting on behalf of immigration reform. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The president has spoken highly of the group in the past. In a speech in San Francisco on Monday, Obama praised them as "sacrificing themselves in an effort to get Congress to act."

"I want them to know we hear you. We're with you. The whole country hears you," Obama said in California.

Vice President Joe Biden, chief of staff Denis McDonough and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett have also visited the protesters since the fast began. First Lady Michelle Obama accompanied the president on Friday.

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