The number of immigrants entering the United States has been significantly rising. Despite having immigration law, the rate of immigrants into the United States has significantly increased. Fears continue to grow concerning terrorism; population pressures, increased rate of unemployment, and the national security have endorsed a progressive nativist, anti-immigrant climate criminalizing immigrants. These dynamic have called for further immigration reforms. Some immigration reform bills have been presented in the Congress but unfortunately, they get blocked in the Congress. In the past years, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have advocated and supported immigration legislation which has been adequate to fix the broken immigration system in the United States (Martin & Duignan, 2003: 7). To make immigration reforms has been difficult to attain because immigration reforms bills that are presented to the Congress are blocked and not passed by the house of congress representatives. There are a number of factors which tend to affect the likelihood of immigration reform to be passed in Congress. These factors include; gridlock, polarization, voting behavior, status quo behavior, bureaucracy and interest groups (Martin & Duignan, 2003: 9). These factors play a big role in influencing the Congress to determine whether to pass or reject a bill. It is so hard to pass bills in Congress because it needs extensive influence and support from various interest groups and stakeholders which is a hectic process. Therefore, with the progressive growing concerns and need to improve and develop better immigration laws that will address the current issues faced, it is crucial to crafting a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the immigration reforms bill is passed. This paper will propose a strategy that will apply the lobbying strategy. The lobby strategy will involve using the expertise of lobby individuals or groups to push and influence the congress to accept, support the bill and pass it. Drawing to the agenda-setting theory, the first step will involve using the media to set the agenda. This will entail taking the agenda of the need for immigration reforms to the media to be debated on and also to raise awareness among the public so as to gain support from the public. The second step will involve gaining access to policymakers. This step will involve seeking ways to get the policymakers’ attention and also finding ways of meeting them to present them the immigration reform agenda. The third step will entail providing specific information concerning the immigration reforms anticipated to be made to the policymakers. Specifically, the information that is to be presented to the policymakers is the public opinion about immigration reforms. The fourth step will entails lobbying the Congress to support the bill. This step will be executed by the expert lobby groups and other interest groups. This is important in influencing the Congress to get on board with the immigration reform bill and pass it successfully. The fifth step will entail lobbying other governmental agencies. Other government agencies play a big role in influencing a bill to be passed in congress. Their validation and support of the proposed bill adds weight contributing to it being passed in congress. This will be done through approaching them by the interest groups to seek support from them. The last step will focus on lobbying the president. The president is the last person to confirm a bill passed by the Congress. In order for the bill to be implemented or not, it is upon the president to sign the bill into law. To successfully lobby the president, any form of relation and connections with the White House will be used to manage to influence the president to sign the bill.
Using the media to set the agenda
To begin with, it is important to raise awareness and set the agenda concerning the issues faced due to immigration. Appropriate media channels such as television, radio broadcasts, and social media can be used to raise awareness on the need for immigration reforms. This will also help in attracting relevant interest groups who will champion the immigration reforms process and ensure that the immigration reform bill will be passed successfully (Dávila & Rivero, 2014: 27). According to the agenda-setting theory, mass communication has a significant connection with the public. Essentially, for an agenda to be set, it requires an audience and participants which is the public to debate and discuss about it. It is through the public that the public opinion is obtained (McCombs & Shaw, 1972: 181). Therefore, it will be important to consider the most influential media that will cover a wider population. The television, radio and social media are the appropriate media to advertise and create awareness on the need for immigration reforms. These media can also be used to set an agenda for discussion to debate about and also carry out a survey to determine the public’s opinion towards the immigration reforms meant to reduce immigration into the United States. With the help of the media, we will be able to get the public’s support to take the immigration bill to Congress. The adverts about the immigration reforms in the media will also help to attract the attention of the Congress, the president, and other relevant government agencies, therefore, making it a national issue that needs immediate attention.
Gaining access to policymakers
This step entails accessing the policymakers in order to express your concerns to them. Before pushing forward the immigration reform bill, it is important to try to meet or if not possible communication is critical so that one can consult and build a relationship with them (Gimpel & Edwards, 1999: 9). Policymakers can be accessed through meeting physically; telephones calls, or email them. We can also get the attention and support of the policymakers by making contributions to their political campaigns or any other development campaign they are running (Gimpel & Edwards, 1999: 11). By doing so, chances are high that the policy makers will be willing to support the proposed immigration reform especially if the proposed reform is sensible and of great importance to the country.
It has to be ensured that this form of access is mainly involving building relationships between the lobbying group and the policymakers. The relationship can be built through socializing with some policymakers and taking part in some recreational activities during leisure time such as playing golf, tennis or pool (Nownes, 2013: 134). Moreover, a relationship can be created by attending elected officials’ fundraising and home coming receptions as well as giving them campaign contribution. Another means of developing relationships with policymakers is by supporting some of their initiatives so that they can also give a helping hand back by drafting the bill, introducing the bill to Congress, and also voting for the bill in Congress so that it can be passed.
Providing information to the policymakers
After gaining access, it is critical to persuade Congress to admit and support the immigration reform bill or at least not to oppose the bill. There are three types of information that needs to be provided to the policy makers and generally the interest groups. The first information is the information regarding the proposed immigration reforms relevant to the concerned group’s interest (American Immigration Council, 2014: 3). The second information is about where the people that the policymakers represent will be impacted by the reforms to be made in the new policy if it will be passed and also whether the immigration reform bill will gain bigger support or alternative oppose the bill. The third information that needs to be provided is technical information regarding the implications as well as the probable impacts of the policy proposals.
Lobbying the Congress
In this stage, the focus will be on influencing the Congress by the interest groups to get on board with an immigration reform bill. This is the stage whereby grassroots lobbying occurs whereby we will have to contact our legislators to push and reinforce the bill. The legislature has bigger popularity and public following; therefore, it will be important to use the legislators to mobilize grassroots lobbying in order to gain bigger public support and public opinion in favor of the immigration reform bill (Bell, 2002: 72). Grassroots lobbying can be done through hiring firms that utilize data banks, direct mails, as well as telephone banks in contacting individuals probably to be responsive and support the bill. Using these hired firms, messages are created by means of focus groups as well as surveys although it is a bit costly. Therefore, the most economical method of grassroots lobbying is by doing it through interest groups on the main issues of immigration reforms.
Moreover, the influences of interest groups may be extended to members of Congress as well as their staff. Given that it is clear that there is a gap in the immigration law, it is important to avoid the status quo bias among Congress. Something needs to be done to fix the issues at hand. The interest groups should intercede from the beginning of the policymaking process, by encouraging and mobilizing the Congress to support the proposed immigration reform bill (Martin & Duignan, 2003:10). The proposers of the immigration reform bill as well as the congressional staff can then join forces and sign up cosponsors. These cosponsors will help in funding the lobbying process. The congressional staff can also assist in organizing congressional hearings, determine the time for the hearings, find individuals to testify or even record testimonies, and also offer the legislators question to examine the witnesses.
Another main focus will be to reduce or entirely eliminate polarization among members of Congress who tend to stick to their norms and value of the parties they belong to. Polarization is a setback that hinders bills from being passed. Therefore, it is important to approach this bill from a neutral perspective. To achieve this, the involvement of lobbyists in the subcommittee or even the committee of the bill is critical. They may try to adjust the bill’s language, make amendments, and push for the bill to be passed by the Congress subcommittee or the committee through voting (Ewing & Cantor, 2014: 12). The role also will involve convincing member to vote for the bill. In essence, these undertakings occur both in the House of Representatives and also the Senate including the Senate conference committee conducted with an aim of settling the differences all bills passed in every chamber, the final House and also Senate votes. Another important move that can be taken is influencing the quantity of money Congress allocates for initiatives and also agencies.
It is also important to put more emphasis on the main concerns and avoid reference to a party or a particular sponsor when addressing the differences within positions among individuals. This is because it may be possible that the opposition may at some point they have supported the bill and might end up feeling obliged to defend that position although they no longer hold (Gimpel & Edwards, 1999: 16). To eliminate the gridlock among the Congress, it is important to include the most vital features of the position party’s position. To engender support to across parties, the advantages of the immigration reform bill should entail the aspects of every party’s position. However, areas which do not need to be added without substantially impacting the integrity of the immigration reform bill though they still have to be acknowledged by integrating the language of the opposition in the solution. Those who drafted the bill will, therefore, be capable of guiding the opposition to the solution with fewer differences since it offers a political cover when it comes to controversial issues. It is easier to come into an agreement and pass the bill when both parties have a feeling that all dimensions have been acknowledged.
Lobbying other relevant governmental agencies
In this stage, it focuses on involving the other governmental agencies in supporting the bill. Bureaucracy plays an important role in facilitating and ensuring the success of a bill. Essentially, bureaucrats are vital to interest groups since they normally possess the authority of determinig what laws mean as well as the manner of administering and implementing them (American Immigration Council, 2014: 4). Since job opportunities have been diminishing and being scarce due to the increased immigration in the country, this immigration reforms bill aimed at reducing immigration into the United States will definitely attract both the attention and support from United State Department of Labor. This department is in charge of labor protecting the United States employees from exploitation and from foreign threat. Therefore, it will be vital to solicit back up from this department. The interest group has to play a major role by establishing a relationship with this department, present to them the proposed immigration reforms and be provided with a reference letter from the labor department indicating that they are supporting the bill that has to be presented to the Congress (Ewing & Cantor, 2014: 15). This will help in changing the stand of those opposing the bill and also convince the majority of the members of Congress to pass the bill. Also, they can encourage the department of labor to announce their support for the bill on the media.
Another affected government agency by the policy is the United States Department of the interior. The interest group has to approach the secretary of the interior to establish a relationship with him, present and explain the immigration reforms in detail by emphasizing on its significance and the benefit of the immigration bill which aims at reducing immigration to the people of the United States (Kersh, 2002: 6). Given that this government agency is in charge of the internal affairs of the United States therefore, the wellbeing of the American natives is a big concern to them. The interest group can approach the secretary with the proposed immigration reform bill explain to him in detail how it will be beneficial to all Americans. To attract support from this agency, the interest groups can also show the secretary of the interior the support they have already received including the public opinion so as to win his trust and support (Martin & Duignan, 2003: 55). The support from such an important organization will influence those opposing the bill in Congress making them change their position and support the bill to be passed.
Immigration has caused a lot of security concerns which is one of the reasons that prompted this form of immigration reform. Due to the security concerns such as terrorism that have been caused by immigration, this immigration reform bill definitely attracts the attention of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The interest group has to approach the secretary of homeland security and explain to him especially how the immigration reform bill will help to address the security issues in the country caused by immigration. Moreover, since this bill focuses on reducing immigration into the United States, chances are high that this agency will support the bill.
Lobbying the president
In this stage, it focuses on benefiting from the impact of presidential communications. With regards to personal preferences, political requirements, and ideological dispositions, the president may be interacting with industry, labor, business as well as interest group leaders (Nownes, 2013: 172). The president has a big impact on the immigration reform bill. Usually, the communication between the president and the interest groups supporting a bill is normally done by White House staff, White House Office of Public Engagement on behalf of the president. The president can side with the interest groups he prefer or those who may have aided him in the past or those bills that are aimed at improving the wellbeing of the people. Actually, interest groups who support a presidential proposal may attempt to persuade members of Congress influencing them to vote for the immigration reform bill.
To sum it all, this strategy to pass the immigration reform bill aimed at reducing legal immigration into the United States will succeed. This is because the strategy has been stage-managed very well and strategically planned. To begin with, this strategy has identified the theory to jam start it and guide it which is the Agenda setting theory. Moreover, the strategy has systematically followed credible steps. The most important thing about the strategy is that it has appreciated the significance of winning trust and support of concerned and involved agencies and persons through lobbying. One of the main strength of this strategy is by considering using the media to set the agenda to the country about the issues related to immigration and the need to address these issues through making immigration reforms to the existing immigration laws. It is a good idea to make an impact on the public, obtain public opinion which will be used to support the bill in Congress. Nonetheless, the most influential media such as television, radio, and social media have been identified to be used in creating public awareness. This contributes a lot the credibility of this strategy.
Another strength of this strategy is that is has taken into consideration the significance of getting in touch with the policymakers. Since the main aim here is to ensure that the immigration reform bill is passed into a policy, it is important to solicit support from policymakers by approaching them and establish relationships with them. Without a relationship with the policymakers, chances are low for the bill gain enough support to be passed. Moreover, this strategy has considered every important aspect even though most people consider as being unnecessary such as providing information to the policymakers. This ensures that the policymakers have enough information concerning the bill so that they can be fully convinced to support the proposed bill. The congress is the most important part to consider because these are the one who decides whether to pass the bill or trash it. This strategy has put more focus on this stage and this is very important because a lot of influence and persuasion has to be done in this stage. A lot of influences have been suggested in this stage to be undertaken by the interest groups and the lobbyist on various individuals involved in the passing of bills.
To add weight on its, strategy has extended to use the impact of presidential communication by integrating the office of the President in this process. Moreover, the strategy has also extended to solicit support from other government departments like the department of interior and homeland security. Another major significance of the strategy is that has also considered seeking justice and support from the court to avoid manipulation and injustices in the legislative process of passing the bill. All in all, this is a systematic strategy that is very promising to solicit enough support from various people which will guarantee the bill to be passed.