ENGAGING YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES ON TWITTER

Twitter is a great tool for engaging people that you wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to converse with, but it’s important to remember that engagement can be a process rather than an overnight success. Here are some tips and guidelines on opening a dialogue with your Senator.

Be polite. Be useful. Be interesting. Be unique. Be personable.

WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL

Congress needs to hear from you. They need to know you support immigration reform and expect them to fix the broken system this year. We’ve included the sample letter below to your senator and representatives. Feel free to use this draft, modify it or write your own letter. The important thing is that you write the Congress today!

We’ve included the sample letter below to your senator or representative.  Feel free to use this draft, modify it or write your own letter.  The important thing is that you write the Congress today!

Click here to view a Sample Letter

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LEGISLATIVE VISIT TIPS

  1. Legislative Meetings
    Organizations are scheduling meetings with their representatives during this time to share individual stories and press for immigration reform.
  2. Calls to Congress
    Participate in call-in days to your Representatives to press for immigration reform dialing 866-563-5608.
  3. Education Workshops on the Immigration Reform Bill
    Attend an education workshop. Organizations are scheduling educational workshops to help community members understand what is currently in the bill and explain the legislative process on how a bill becomes a law.
  4. Civic engagement
    It is important for us to continue to remind elected officials about the 2012 election and how much the immigrant vote mattered and will matter in the future. Don’t forget to register to vote and vote!

How to Meet with Your Legislator

Arrive early and as a group

Remember that you are not the only people meeting with the legislator and staff that day.  Arriving early may give you extra time and always makes you look more professional.  Late group members should politely wait outside the office rather than interrupt a meeting in progress.

Introduce yourselves

Briefly introduce yourselves individually and be sure to include your organization’s name and where you are from.

Have your group leader explain that you represent an important voice in your legislator’s district.

Keep your presentation simple

Create your talking points in advance.  Know your facts and have your information easily at hand.  Stay away from using acronyms.

Tell powerful stories.  Stories are one of the most effective ways to leave a lasting impact on legislators and congressional staff.  A powerful story creates an emotional connection to an issue and links it to deeper values and personal experience.

Seek concrete commitments.  Come prepared to ask your legislator to take specific actions in support of your issues (e.g., introduce or cosponsor legislation, vote in favor or against a specific bill, communicate support to House or Senate leadership or head of a specific committee).  Seek clear yes or no responses to your asks, and be prepared to follow up.

Stay positive.  If a legislator or their staff ask questions you cannot answer that day, feel free to let them know that you could send them that information when you return to their district.

Stay polite.  You might disagree with a legislator or their staff; if so, make your point and move on.  You want to inform them of your position and make them feel comfortable going to you as a source of information in their district.

Listen well.  Let them ask questions.  You may find new opportunities to interact with the legislator.

Sample Introduction to Legislator or Staff Member

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Sample Legislative Meeting Request Letter

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Town Hall Tips

Generally, town hall meetings offer three opportunities for your voice to be heard:

  1. Raise your hand; ask a question. Best case scenario: the Member actually wants to hear from constituents (rare, but it can happen).
  2. Submit questions in writing beforehand. Member gets to answer only those questions he or she want to answer.

Here are some suggestions for all three scenarios:

  1. Oral questions: Make a point in the form of a question, quickly.
    What do you want to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of whom have lived here for over a decade, and contribute to our economy and society?What do you have to say to families who live in constant fear of being torn apart? Or to parents and children who have already been separated through the deportations and detentions of adults who, other than their immigration status, did not commit any crimes?Deportations are higher than ever under the Obama administration, while border-crossing has reached a 40 year low. Since the border is largely secure, would you oppose a trigger mechanism in immigration reform?
  2. Written questions: Make a point in the form of a question, with a little more detail.
    According to various polls, a majority of Americans support a pathway to citizenship. Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” plan was by and large rejected. Where do you stand on an earned pathway to citizenship for the undocumented members of our community?In an unprecedented demonstration of unity between labor and business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO issued joint principles on immigration reform last week. If these constantly conflicting entities can do it, why can’t Congress work together and find common ground?

Digital Tools

With the Senate’s bill introduced, we must ramp up our contacts, especially calls, to our Senators to fight to improve the bill and keep it moving forward. We will also use our digital tools to share photos and videos, and promote turnout for district office visits and other events during the recess. Please use the hashtag #p2c for pathway to citizenship, and #timeisnow, so others can follow our work happening across the country during the recess.

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