How to advocate for immigration reform

Now that a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, pressure must be applied for the proposal to be improved and passed. In my column This week's "Consulta Migratoria" published online by several impreMedia publications including LaOpinió, explains how to do it.

Here is my column:

Last week I was in Washington, D.C. participating in the rally in support of comprehensive immigration reform, which was attended by an estimated 100,000 people. It was heartening to see the enthusiasm and collaboration of all the people who gathered in the nation's capital. During the hours that I participated in the demonstration, I spoke with many people. Some were undocumented and some were citizens, but they all wanted the same thing: to advocate for a change in immigration laws that would allow, among other things, the legalization of 11 million people living illegally in the United States.

The demonstration was peaceful and that was a very positive thing, because it is important to raise our voices to advocate for reform without putting ourselves at risk of arrest and possible deportation.

One of the most effective ways of lobbying for reform is to write, call, or visit your federal representatives. It is important to flood them with letters and calls from permanent residents and U.S. citizens asking them to support a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

When writing a letter or making a phone call, it is important to be polite, identify the legislation for which you are contacting your representative and explain why you believe it is necessary. If you decide to visit your representative in person, make an appointment. Be punctual, courteous and patient. Be as brief and concise as possible when presenting your arguments for reform. Above all, be prepared to provide information to support your point of view.

Members of Congress are elected to represent you, so they should hear what you think about any legislation and how legislators are doing their jobs. Contacting House and Senate leaders before an important vote can be a good strategy for influencing our representatives.

To contact members of the congress, you can search for the name, phone and e-mail address on the following website:

The more people who communicate with their representatives, the better. That is why every family member, employer and friend who is a U.S. citizen should be encouraged to join our efforts and call their representatives in Congress to ask them to support immigration reform.