Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11060775 (posted Jun. 7, 2011)"
AILA's Tools of Engagement is a workbook for AILA Advocates who want to make the case for new immigration laws and policy.
As immigration law practitioners, AILA advocates are generally recognized as credible spokespeople on immigration-related legal matters. But, credibility is only half the battle of winning over the hearts and minds of American voters and lawmakers. Immigration is very complex and the Rube Goldberg-esque system of rules and policies that regulate it can be hard for non-experts to understand. For us, spreading the message about fixing the problem is as much about promoting our solutions as it is about general education regarding how people come to live and work in the U.S., why the number of undocumented immigrants is so high, and how, even in a slow economy, all immigrants benefit the country.
AILA's Tools of Engagement is designed to make reaching out to policy makers, the media, and community groups a piece of cake for AILA advocates. The first section of the workbook is broken into three How-To sections-one about each of AILA's target audiences. It covers everything from arranging meetings with Congressional staff to excelling at on-camera interviews to building relationships with the business community.
To be an effective voice for change we need to think strategically about what we say, how we say it, and who we tell.
What to say: AILA's Solutions That Work: A Policy Manual for Immigration Reform clearly and concisely makes our case for immigration reform; it is the core of our advocacy message. The complete manual summarizes the components of the existing immigration system, identifies their deficiencies and offers workable solutions that will fix the totality of the broken, outdated, and inadequate system.
How to say it: The final section of AILA's Tools of Engagement includes our best guess for immigration proposals we can expect to see during the 112th Congress (from mandating E-Verify to repealing birthright citizenship), as well as AILA's issue-specific talking points. These talking points were crafted for the current political climate and we believe that these messages will be as useful on Capitol Hill as they will be with the media and members of your community.
Who to tell: Our strategy for educating different audiences and concurrently advocating for change requires a three pronged outreach effort. We need to educate our policymakers and advocate for better immigration legislation, educate the media and advocate for objective and accurate reporting on immigration issues, and educate our communities so that they will join us in our quest for change.