Here Are 5 Simple Steps for Telling Your Senator to Act
By Naureen Shah, Senior Director of Campaigns, Amnesty International USA
Many of us have our own refugee story to share. Maybe you have family or friends who fled persecution generations ago and your heart aches for people facing the same thing today. Or you’re reading the stories about what’s happening in Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela, Sudan and countless other countries, and you need to write down how it feels. Or maybe you just think it’s wrong to turn our backs on people in need.
Whatever it is, this is your #IWelcome story — and it matters.
Most people are like you. When we polled people across 27 countries, four out of five people said “Yes, we welcome refugees.” And more than 70 percent of Americans said so.
So why is the Trump administration about to shut our doors to refugees? Why isn’t Congress doing more about it?
One of the most important things you can do is write a letter to your member of Congress today and tell your story.
Here’s why: Members of Congress are influenced by you, their constituent. And if they know it matters to you, they’re more likely to help us fight attempts by some in the Trump administration to vilify refugees, ban them or reduce the numbers of people who can resettle here and rebuild their lives in safety.
Have 2 minutes? Pick up the phone and leave a message with your member of Congress. Call 1–855–514–0802 and we’ll share a script you can use and get you patched through to your senator.
Have 10 minutes or feel shy about a phone call? Write a letter — here’s how:
1. Write a personal letter. Members of Congress want to know what you — their constituent — care about. Writing a personal letter shows that you are invested in the issue and you expect them to be invested, too. Handwrite a letter if you can, but emailed or typed letters will also work.
2. Address the letter to your member of Congress — we suggest writing to your 2 senators
The Honorable [full name]
United States Senate
Washington, D. C. 20515
Dear Senator [last name]:
3. Say you’re a constituent: In your first few sentences, say that you live in the senator’s state. Senators want to hear from people who are their constituents.
4. Say why you’re writing — share your convictions
· Make sure to explain in your first paragraph why you are writing, i.e. I am writing to ask you to support refugees and the continuation of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. (Want some background before you write?).
· Communicate in your own words why you support refugees, i.e. because they are ordinary people fleeing violence and persecution; because it’s true to your values and U.S. commitments; it’s good for your state’s economy; and more. Say why you’re urging your senator to act.
· Keep it personal. We know that senate staff can sniff out pre-written templates, and they value personal letters more.
· You can keep it short — just one page or even shorter.
5. Mail your letter
Be sure to include your return postal mailing address. For the envelope, just pop in your senator’s name on the first line:
The Honorable [Name]
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510