The congressman made the comment Monday in a national teleconference with Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. They launched a campaign to pray, fast and push for immigration reform for 40 days.
More than 5,700 people have pledged to participate in the six-week campaign from Sept. 9 to Oct. 18.
Supporters are not necessarily supposed to fast from food. Their commitment can range from skipping meals, to a total food fast, to eliminating television or Facebook.
Grijalva has advocated a policy involving a pathway to citizenship, border security, and had been a proponent of the DREAM Act.
Addressing the broken immigration system is our most pressing domestic issue, and the next 40 days will be a test, he said.
“I really believe that these next 40 days will mark whether or not we are able to have a comprehensive package with a pathway.”
On Friday, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News that Congress has a “once-in-a-generation chance” to pass immigration reform and fix a broken system.
That same day, Rep. Tom Cole, (R-Okla.) predicted the House will cancel its week-long recess it has scheduled for late September to tackle immigration.
At a town-hall event in August, Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.) said the next few weeks would be a critical time “in the life or death” of immigration reform.
The Senate passed the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, 68-32, in June. Speaker John Boehner, (R-Ohio) has said he won’t take up that version in the House.
Despite the urgent calls for reform, Syria is at the top of Congress’s to-do list, and will delay other legislative items on the agenda this Fall.