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The United States has an immense cultural diversity because of the ever-increasing inflow of immigrants to the country. These immigrants impose significant influences in various aspects such as education, economy, work and military service. It is a fact that, without the immigrants, the United States would be a wholly different country. There is the likelihood that the number of immigrants in the United States will continue to increase, posing the need for an immediate and comprehensive immigration reform. In light of these circumstances, the senate introduced a legislative proposal in August 2001, The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act) to offer provisional permanent residency to undocumented immigrants who meet certain provisional requirements. It is apparent that the bill will not only help the undocumented immigrants, but also the American society as a whole. Immigrants of good moral character can make positive contributions to the society, which will in turn grant them citizenship. The primary objective of this lobbying campaign is to gather support in enacting the bill. This requires the support of the public and the Senate, to ensure the enactment of the bill by the U.S. Congress. Since the Senate has voted against numerous bills that are similar to the Dream Act, the campaign strategy adopted will aim at convincing the Congress to vote for the bill in order to help undocumented immigrants have a better chance of attaining the legal citizenship status. The lobbying campaign strategy will take place in three distinct phases including gathering public support; identification of key interest groups such as religious organizations and co-sponsors; and finally adopting strategies to influence the decisions by the Senate and Congress regarding the enactment of the bill. Gathering public support will entail numerous strategies such as media sensitization and public awareness campaigns. Identification of interest groups will involve forging ties with other organizations that show a keen interest on the matter. Influencing the decision of the Congress will entail the involvement of the opposition, targeting running candidates and the minister, and working at the local level with relevant and influential representatives.
Lobbying Campaign Strategy for Passing the DREAM Act
Lobbying refers to the process of attempting to influence decisions made that government officials make, especially legislators and officials of regulatory authorities. From this point of view, the primary purpose of this lobbying strategy is to influence the Congress to vote for the enactment of the DREAM Act. The nature of lobbying activities attracts numerous individuals or groups from the private sector, fellow legislators and advocacy groups. This implies that there are numerous opportunities for forging ties with other interest groups to influence the decisions made by the Congress in voting for the DREAM Act. Apart from influencing the political process, effective lobbying requires public and media awareness. This is because lobbying requires a wide-ranging and an integrated approach that needs the involvement of the media, legislators, and other interest groups. The strategy should aim at influencing peoples’ thinking and beliefs, implying that the success of this lobbying strategy relies on people’s involvement. A reactive lobbying strategy that sets the agenda is preferable in this case to guarantee the achievement of the lobbying goals and objectives.
Prior to the implementation of the lobbying campaign strategy, it will be vital to gather facts that base on the practical experiences of undocumented immigrants in the absence of the law. This will serve as a proof for the proactive agenda of the lobbying campaign to gather support for passing the DREAM Act. Therefore, effective execution of the various elements of the strategic plan will require backing up using evidence collected by previous studies and observable facts. Usage of evidence from studies will increase the influential power of the lobbying campaign at all levels of execution including gathering public support, forging ties with interests groups, and influencing the Congress. The fact is that making a good case for support requires a rational purpose for lobbying for a cause and a reliable data for attaining support from relevant stakeholders. In the course of the lobbying process, the organization will enhance its political strength by establishing ties with groups having similar interests. In addition, it is imperative to ensure that there are no disagreements among individual board members. This is extremely damaging to the lobbying campaign because such members are likely to seek media, public and legislators opposition towards the achievement of the established objectives.
The lobbying campaign for passing the DREAM Act will cover the entire United States, implying that there will be the need to establish federal, state and local chapters of the lobby group to ensure influence at all governmental levels. This will also involve organizing meetings in main cities in the United States. The meetings will facilitate the identification and motivation of volunteer groups or individuals who may help the campaign achieve its objectives. It is vital to note that these meetings will take place regularly and ensure that most members have the opportunity of attending them. During the meetings, tasks delegated to members will include volunteering to exchange ideas with legislators and undocumented immigrants regarding the use of their personal stories and experiences to advocate for the objectives of the lobbying campaign. Delegation of tasks will also involve offering logistical and practical aid in issues such as mailing the legislators, media houses, and similar interest groups.
Members of the campaign team should ensure communication with all elected government officials by contacting the legislators representing their respective states, constituencies and districts. This is an important strategy in increasing the awareness of the legislators regarding the significance of passing the DREAM Act. Another organizational activity will include the visitation of illegal immigrants in various states in order to illustrate the society’s case using their personal experiences. It is vital to outline the objectives of the lobbying campaign during such meetings to increase public influence and support. Members should also attend society meetings for briefings regarding the course of the lobbying campaign, which are a perfect opportunity for inviting legislators and getting media coverage. The campaign will prioritize the involvement in the lobbying campaign activities such as door-to-door campaigns and street marches advocating for the enactment of the DREAM Act by the Congress.
Strategies for Gathering Public Support
The capability of the campaign to establish and maintain public contact with the prime objective of gathering public support towards the passing of the DREAM Act will determine its effectiveness. Public support is usually an effective strategy in influencing political decisions. This is because the public elects the legislators, implying that there is a minimal chance that the legislators will ignore voice and demands of the public. Media coverage will play an instrumental role in enhancing public awareness during the lobbying campaign. Therefore, media strategy is an essential element of the lobbying campaign strategic plan. Executing every phase of the lobbying campaign requires the involvement of the media. The media strategy aims at attaining sympathetic media coverage, which is essential in gathering public support. In addition, sympathetic media coverage also helps to increase access to legislators, which in turn helps in the generation of news. The outcome of such a strategy is increased public awareness on the need to enact the DREAM Act. Furthermore, public sympathy translates to increased public support. Attaining public sympathy requires the adoption of an informative approach by using the media to convey the positive outcomes of enacting the bill. For instance, the media can affirm that enacting the DREAM Act can impose positive and effective contributions to the society by giving illegal immigrants a chance to attain the legal citizenship status. Media coverage will also involve public testimonials of illegal immigrants regarding their experiences in the absence of the law. Media coverage will ensure that the public sympathizes with the plea of undocumented immigrants. It is important to note that public support is a strategy for establishing a power base.
Besides public sympathy, giving interviews will form a vital element of the media strategy used to gather public support. Giving interviews requires the identification of influential and persuasive spokespersons including the representatives needed for addressing the factual issues relating to the enactment of the DREAM Act. Spokespersons will involve illegal immigrants who are willing to use their personal experiences to convey the goal of the campaign lobbying. As a result, there will be the need for adequate preparations for interviewing immigrants who are willing to use their personal experiences publicly. It is vital to inform such individuals about the effects on their confidentiality and privacy before media interviews. An important consideration when giving interviews is that they should always stay on the message, which ensures the delivery of the campaign’s core idea without deviation. The selected spokespersons for media interviews must make sure that they give concise and clear points backed up by examples from real life experiences or factual statistics. Each interview will have a specific message to convey to the public and legislators, with the ultimate goal being to lobby support for passing the DREAM Act. The selected spokespersons should prepare adequately for TV and radio interviews. It is vital they stay on message and not provide room for the interview to deviate from the main message sent to the masses. The spokespersons should position their highly personal experiences in the context of the wider lobbying campaign for the passing of the bill by the Congress. During such interviews, representative members of the lobbying organization will be usually present to offer the required support.
Forceful and decisiveness of the spokespersons during media coverage is a core ingredient for the success of the DREAM Act campaign. During public debates, insulting the legislators and being rude may end up being counter-productive for the campaign. However, it is vital to emphasize on correctness of the cause. This involves the need to uphold the dignity of membership by acknowledging the fine differences between needless aggression and forceful campaigning. Therefore, arguing in public debates with legislators will take a contradictory tone, which is usually productive with the use of appropriate tactics. It is vital for the spokesperson to be ready to respond to difficult questions and contrary views. This poses the need to have knowledge of other people who will be present in the media interview. It is also vital to ascertain whether the interview is live or recorder and edited in order to formulate an effective communication plan. For instance, the spokesperson can highlight the flaws and ineffectiveness of existing immigration policies in dealing with the problem, posing the need for an urgent reform. Currently, undocumented minors receive the same treatment as undocumented adults. The DREAM Act will ensure that undocumented aliens attain legal citizenship status if they are willing to serve in the United States military or spending 2 years in college. Most student organizations in the U.S. are increasing to embrace the passing of the Act as a method of supporting immigrant minors who have limited choice about residing in the U.S. The point of argument is that an immigrant minor born and residing in the U.S. for long enough has a sense of belonging to the United States. As a result, granting them legal residency in the U.S. leads to significant benefits to the United States and the immigrants[. Enacting the DREAM Act will reduce immigrant school dropouts. The DREAM Act will increase the number of immigrant graduates from colleges and high schools, leading to an increase in tax revenues and a decline in government expenditure. The fiscal impact of passing the bill is extremely large. The spokesperson should maintain that the benefits of passing the bill outweigh the potential negative consequences.
Local coverage through local newspapers and radio stations is a vital element of the campaign strategy. Local media seek local perspectives in their coverage; as a result, the campaign team should offer them local statistics regarding the experiences of immigrant minors in the United States and the effectiveness of existing immigration policies in resolving issues facing immigrants in the local community.
Other campaign strategies aimed at garnering public support include marches and rallies, which will entail the recruitment of at least 300 individuals in various states to engage in street marches during special political functions. Marches and rallies will involve grassroots campaigns with the various student organizations and immigrant youth rights organizations such as One Michigan. Such groups have been successful in stopping deportation of undocumented minors. In addition, such groups have played a forefront role in public awareness through rallies and massive call-in days.
The strategy will also use information technologies to increase public awareness and support. The campaign strategy will use avenues such as forums, blogs and social media to convey messages to the public aimed at achieving the goals and objectives of the campaign.
Identification of Key Interest Groups
Forging and sustaining relationships will help in strengthening the lobbying efforts towards the passing of the DREAM Act. This strategy entails the identification of key interest groups that have similar objectives in relation to gathering support for the bill. This phase will involve the identification of major decision-making institutions related to the issue of passing the DREAM Act at the state, federal and local levels. Some of the identified groups that share the interest in lobbying the support for passing the bill include an array of activist groups such as Center for Community Change, National Council of La Raza, Asian Law Caucus, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Anti-Defamation League, and People for the American Way. Other interest groups include Latino Policy Forum, Hispanic Association of Colleges, and Universities and Association of Community College Trustees.
Apart from the activist lobby groups, there are other national institutions supporting the passing of the bill, which presents an opportunity to forge ties towards the achievement of a common goal. Identified national institutions supporting the bill include National Immigration Law Center, American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union, National Education Association, and American Immigration Lawyers Association. Religious groups that support the bill include the Catholic Church through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Large corporations such as Microsoft also support the passing of the DREAM Act.
It is evident that support for the bill comes from interest groups allied to teacher unions, health and welfare policy, education, schools and colleges, and churches and religious organizations. This provides an opportunity to increase public support and exert pressure on decision-making institutions in the United States. This is because influential organizations can change public opinion towards the issue, which is a powerful tool to influence Congressional decision-making. When forging ties with similar interest groups, it is vital to take into consideration their political and public influence. Effective execution of this strategic plan will entail collaborative effort with any interest group indicating its objective in gathering support for the enactment of the Act. When establishing joint efforts, it is essential to ensure that the groups agree on the established objectives of the campaign. This helps to increase the strength of the lobbying initiative and produce good results.
Strategies to Influence Decision-Making by the Legislators
It is vital to note that chances of success of the campaign are high if the thought-out case receives political support of key stakeholders. Therefore, the campaign strategy aims at identifying key government officials and politicians who have the greater capacity of influencing the outcome of the campaign. This requires the identification of and forging positive relations with government officials in charge of policies relating to the enactment of the DREAM Act. Potential government officials who are likely to influence the outcome include immigration officials at local, state and federal levels, and education officers.
Lobbying for political support of government officials requires a strong submission from the campaign organization based on extensive consultations, evidenced research, and assessment of the situation. The document requesting for political support should be precise and contain core arguments backed with detailed and accurate data in order to justify the objectives of the lobbying campaign. It is essential that all politicians and high-level government officials receive a copy of the submission document outlining the core objective of the lobbying campaign, which is to gather support for passing the DREAM Act.
This lobbying campaign has an advantage in the sense that it is taking place in the wake of coming Presidential and Senate elections due in November 6, 2012. Therefore, an effective strategy is to involve the various political parties on the issue. This will entail asking the various political parties to incorporate a commitment on supporting the bill when drafting their manifesto. This increases the Congressional influence to vote for the bill. Involvement of politicians can also take place through attendance of meetings organized by legislators and lobby for support in passing the bill.
Involvement of local government officials and policies plays an integral role in influencing the outcome of the campaign. This will entail asking local politicians to pass a notion supporting the enactment of the DREAM Act. During election campaigns, it is essential to target states represented by key politicians, whereby lobbying for the passing of the Act will raise concerns for the political parties. After identification of these states, there will be the need to organize public meetings and request the attendance of all contesting politicians. This is an effective approach in ensuring that the politicians take the public plight seriously.
Another strategy is to tailgate key political figures in order to increase lobbying opportunities. This involves tracking down activities of legislators by ensuring that lobbying representatives are available in any political function. The representative can look for an opportunity to discuss the matter with the politicians and journalists regarding the passing of the DREAM Act. The objective of this strategy is to raise the profile of the concern, so that legislators can prioritize it by voting for the bill.
Method for Evaluating the Future Success or Failure of the Final Project Campaign Plan
The measurable objective of this campaign is to gather support for passing of the DREAM Act. This implies that if the Congress votes for the bill, then the campaign has ultimately achieved its objective. This campaign targets to increase visibility and importance of enacting the DREAM Act and influence the Congressional decision-making process. Furthermore, the campaign aims at mobilizing public support. The public and legislators are the main target audiences for the campaign. Evaluating the campaign will involve four basic frameworks including formative, process, outcome, and impact evaluation. Formative evaluation aims at assessing the strengths and weakness of the campaign’s strategic plan during execution. For instance, this will evaluate whether the campaign conveyed appropriate messages to the target audience and their response. Under the formative evaluation framework, an increase in public and political support indicates that the campaign project is a success.
Process evaluation measures effort and output of the campaign strategy in relation to its accomplishments. Process evaluation also entails an assessment of the campaign implementation and the working of activities involved. Under process evaluation, measuring success of the project requires an assessment of media coverage and the effectiveness of joint efforts with other interest groups. Process evaluation entails the amount of media coverage received and the interest groups that are willing to work collaboratively to achieve the same goal. High media coverage and extensive joint efforts imply that the campaign project is a success. A challenge with this evaluation framework is that it is difficult to estimate the number of target audiences reached and the campaign’s exposure.
Outcome evaluation measures the observable effects of the campaign. The expected outcomes of this campaign are increased public support, and influence the Congress to pass the DREAM Act. Achievement of these outcomes indicates that the campaign project plan was successful. Impact evaluation assesses the long-term results of the lobbying campaign strategy in order to determine whether political and public support translated to an enactment of the bill
The campaign project plan involves three distinct phases including gathering public support; identification of key interest groups such as religious organizations and co-sponsors; and finally adopting strategies to influencing the decisions by the Senate and Congress regarding the enactment of the bill. Gathering public support will entail strategies such as media sensitization and public awareness campaigns. Identification of interest groups will involve forging ties with other organizations that show a keen interest on the matter. Influencing the decision of the Congress will entail the involvement of the opposition, targeting running candidates and the minister, and working at the local level with relevant influential representatives. Evaluating the campaign will involve four basic frameworks including formative, process, outcome, and impact evaluation.