AILA’s Virtual National Day of Action: FAQ for Registered Participants

Thank you for registering to attend AILA’s virtual National Day of Action on Thursday, April 22, 2021! To help you understand some of the changes for this year, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.

  • How are virtual congressional meetings scheduled?
    • AILA National and your chapters have hired a consulting firm to schedule meetings with members of Congress and provide video and teleconference lines for each meeting.
    • You will be put in teams with other AILA members based on your home and work addresses or relationships with members of Congress and will meet with 3 to 5 Congressional offices.
    • All registered participants will receive their schedule on Friday, April 16.
  • What is the time commitment for me to participate in virtual NDA?
    • For planning purposes, we ask registrants to hold 9am to 5pm local time on Thursday, April 22. Changes to your meeting schedule can occur until the day-of NDA due to last minute changes in the Congressional calendar. As a result, we hope you can commit to meeting the whole day.
  • How long are Congressional meetings?
    • Each meeting is typically 15 to 20 minutes long.
    • Depending on the size of your group, not everyone will be able to speak at each meeting.
  • Are there breaks between meetings?
    • Yes – Congressional meetings will be scheduled 60 minutes apart. This is to ensure there is time between meetings in case they run late or there are other issues.
  • Will I actually meet with members of Congress?
    • Meetings are requested with the member of Congress. However, due to competing priorities, most of the meetings will be with a high-level staff, like the Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, or Immigration Legislative Assistant. These meetings are just as important, as members on Congress rely heavily on their staff’s opinion. Staff can also be gatekeepers to the issues the legislator adopts.
  • When will I receive my schedule?
    • Meeting schedules will be emailed to registrants on Friday, April 16.
  • What if I haven’t received my schedule?
    • Please check your spam folder in your email address you provided when you registered.
    • Please contact AILA National at advocacy@aila.org using the subject line: NDA Meeting Schedule.
  • What if my availability changes for NDA?
    • We understand that schedules can change. You can cancel your registration if you are no longer available to participate in any meetings. If you are only available for part of the day, please email your chapter Advocacy Liaison or NDA Liaison or advocacy@aila.org as soon as possible.
  • What policy and legislative goals will we be advocating for at NDA?
    • The top issues for AILA this year include:
      • Ensuring the Congress holds USCIS accountable for policy changes under the previous administration and returns to its customer-oriented mission.
      • Calling for significant reforms to our immigration court system.
      • Reducing the use of immigration detention.
      • Calling for the legalization of the thousands of immigrants who call America home.
    • Other local and state priorities can be set by your chapter.
  • How can I prepare to meet with Congress?
    • We encourage participants to look up the member of Congress you are meeting with in advance using AILA’s Legislative Directory to review:
      • Years in office
      • Committee assignments
      • Sponsorship of immigration-related bills
    • AILA National will host a two-hour training to go over legislative priorities and allow you to do a test tech run joining your meetings in advance of NDA.
    • Your AILA Chapter may also decide to host additional training calls.
  • What’s the dress code?
    • We ask AILA members to dress as you would if coming to Washington DC to meet with members of Congress and their staff.
  • Can I use a virtual background?
    • No – unfortunately, the video conference lines we will be using does not allow for the use of virtual backgrounds.
  • What are other tips can I follow to be video conference ready?
    • Pick a quiet place with enough lighting and take a moment to test your microphone and camera before the meeting. Avoid having any windows or bright lights behind you.
    • Position your camera as close to your eye level as possible and make sure your entire face and your shoulders are in the frame; don’t leave too much space above your head.
    • Keep your background professional.
    • During the meeting, mute yourself when not speaking and when you're talking, look into the camera instead of the video feed on your screen.
    • For more tips read this Short Guide to Video Conferencing Etiquette.
  • What if I need to cancel my participation?
  • Can we take photos and share on social media?
    • Yes, but ask for permission first! Chapters may have a time to do so at the beginning or end of the meeting to allow people to turn off cameras if they prefer not to have a photo taken.
    • Another fun way to share an image on social is to take a selfie of yourself, ready for the videoconference/meeting, coffee cup in hand. Or if you have AILA branded swag or a #LibertyontheMove figure, those work great too.
    • Tag your congressional delegations’ handles (found in AILA’s Congressional Directory) in your tweets or IG posts.
    • Don’t forget to use the hashtag #AILANDA21
    • If you have additional questions, please reach out to newmedia@aila.org.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 21022633.