Post Election Advocacy Strategies
This is in response to AILA’s timely summary of the new Congress re: immigration legislation, and the invitation for suggestions.
Although there was a conscious decision this past year to link legal with illegal reform, I believe the new climate argues against that and for a separation. The past thinking, I believe, was that linking them would be the only way to pull along any improvement in legislation re: illegal immigration.
I believe that a strategy of separation is potentially hopeful for the following reasons.
First, the polarization of Congress has already bifurcated the issues, so fighting against it would be like Sisyphus doomed to continually pushing the ball uphill.
Second, incremental improvements have a chance of passage if either attached to other legislation as perhaps relatively benign and/or under the wire.
Incremental legislation would enable us to gather more focused interest groups to advocate for passage of a relatively small enhancement of benefits.
This could be seen in Sen. Reid's post election speech which included his continued support for the Dream Act. This is yet another opportunity to broaden support from schools, businesses and community groups which can argue for utilizing brain power and talent from within the U.S.
Third, I do not see a conflict between separate support for additional legal business immigration and amelioration of illegal immigration. They both enhance the concept of the value of skilled and unskilled foreign workers.
Fourth, a focus on legal business immigration (NIV and IV) can gather the support of a new Congress that is more business leaning, especially the call to help small businesses. Even though there will be strong union opposition, it is time to meet with union leaders to find common ground, if possible.
Lastly, as a general advocacy approach, I have always believed that bite size facts/statistics about the economic benefits of immigration trumps the social and humanistic one. AILA is starting to do this more aggressively by publishing economic studies in support of immigration. But, that information is still not getting out there. Packets of information to Congressional aides should hit their desks with bold letter captions and graph charts demonstrating the value of immigration. Letters to the Editor should also include at least one statistic. Especially in this session of Congress, facts about ways to improve our economy should have a more receptive ear than ever before.
Norine Krasnogor is a Resident Partner at Krasnogor & Krasnogor, LLP, Stamford, Connecticut Office and specializes in Immigration, Consular and Naturalization Law.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.