Lawmakers on Capitol Hill Heard from AILA Loud and Clear, but there is More to Do!

Last week, during AILA’s National Day of Action (#AILANDA18), more than 500 AILA members, clients, and students, headed to Capitol Hill to meet with more than 360 Congressional offices and share their insights into how and why Congress needs to act on immigration. Equipped with AILA resources, such as AILA’s National Day of Action Booklet and AILA’s two new reports, Cogs in the Deportation Machine and Deconstructing the Invisible Report, AILA members provided lawmakers with firsthand accounts of their work on the front lines with people and businesses in their communities, and how current immigration policies are negatively impacting their clients.

Throughout the day, AILA members made their voices heard on a wide range of immigration-related topics, including DREAM-related legislation, policies that are slowing and restricting legal immigration to the United States, the travel ban, and detention and removal issues, among many others. While meeting with a Republican Senator from South Carolina, for example, AILA members highlighted the negative impact of hurdles to naturalization that are currently being imposed on foreign-born soldiers in the U.S. military, the devastating impact of workplace raids on families and communities, and the importance of H-2B visas for temporary and seasonal employers, among many other issues.

On the social media front, AILA members and stakeholders were active as well, from dawn ‘til dusk, calling on Congressional members to act on immigration and sharing why AILA’s National Day of Action is important to them.

On Twitter: The hashtag #AILANDA18 was in 707 tweets, including 435 retweets, and the hashtag was used by 255 distinct handles (people or organizations); 1.4 million impressions of the term #AILANDA18 is estimated by Twitter.

On Instagram: The hashtag #AILANDA18 was mentioned in 53 public posts.

On Facebook: The AILA NDA 18 photo album contains over 60 photos and has received more than 70 likes thus far.

But the efforts didn’t stop when the sun set on AILA’s National Day of Action. Follow-up is being done with Congressional offices, and AILA members continue to amplify these issues by using AILA’s templates for press statements and Letters to the Editor.

While agreement on immigration issues in Washington, D.C. may feel distant, in reality, immigration reform has never been more top-of-mind than it is now. Your efforts keep it front-and-center with those who can effect change: Congress.

Please, as Congress considers reforms to the immigration court system, contemplates the U.S. workforce needs for visas like H-2B and H-1B, and continues to debate the fate of Dreamers among so many other issues, your voices need to continue to be heard. Continue to Take Action this week and every week, share information with your community so they can make their voices heard, and mark your calendar to visit your legislators during the Congressional recess in August. Together we will keep up the fight!

by Diane Rish