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pappu
05-31-2010, 10:35 AM
Advocacy Days Frequently Asked Questions

(1) How do I arrive at my hotel / place of stay in the DC metro area (VA/MD/DC)?

If you are flying into DC area (IAD/DCA/BWI) and are being hosted by a DC area member, please call your host and arrange for transportation. Most likely who ever is hosting you may be willing to pick you up from the airport. If that's not the case, please refer to instructions below.

Please refer to transportation instructions below for each airport

BWI:
Option 1: Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/HomePage) has daily service to Union station starting at $12. Keep in mind that Acela Express may have a higher charge than other trains. Go to the schedules tab on the home page linked above and chose BWI (Baltimore –Thurgood Marshall Airport) to Union Station, Washington (WAS) for schedules on the day and time of your arrival.

Option 2: Bus-Metro (http://www.wmata.com/bus/timetables/md/b30.pdf) There is bus service from BWI to Greenbelt Metro Station and from there to downtown Washington DC. Cost of this Bus-Metro trip is about $7.

If you are staying in a hotel in the DC area, Call your hotel and find out what the closest metro station is to your hotel and what line it is on to and then refer to the metro map (http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm).

IAD: At the arrivals door 4, Wash flyer bus leaves to West Falls Church metro station (orange line) as per the attached schedule (http://www.washfly.com/flyer_bus_schedule.htm). Fare is 10$ each way and 18$ round trip.

If you are staying in a hotel in the DC area, Call your hotel and find out what the closest metro station is to your hotel and what line it is on to and then refer to the metro map (http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm).

DCA: Regan National Airport has a metro station (http://www.wmata.com/rail/station_detail.cfm?station_id=93) that is on both Blue and Orange lines.
If you are staying in a hotel in the DC area, Call your hotel and find out what the closest metro station is to your hotel and what line it is on to and then refer to the metro map (http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm).

(2) What is the best mode of transportation in the DC area and why?

Metro. I-495, also known as the Capital Beltway is one of the worst traffic hot spots or infamously known as the biggest parking lot in the DC area. I-66 connecting VA and DC is completely HOV (2 or more per vehicle). Finally Parking spots are tough to find are limited to maximum of 1 or 2 hours. One day parking spots are tough to find nearby and costs about 25$ a day.

(3) What is the fare on the metro and how should I pay?

Fare on the metro varies with the on boarding and off boarding stations. Metro has pre paid fare cards (DO NOT BUY SMART TRIP CARDS) vended by the automated systems and can be paid using Credit card or cash. One-way fare during time peak time from the suburbs to Union Station (Senate) or Capital South (House) is 5$.
You can get the exact fare from the wmata trip planner on Metro’s website (http://www.wmata.com/index.cfm). Charge your fare card with the money needed on the first time during the weekend to avoid standing in line during the weekday. On the three days, you will use the Metro at least 6 times. So please charge your fare card to 6 times the one-way fare between your stations.

(4) What is the Dress Code for the meeting?

Even though many companies have a casual/business casual dress code, dress code on the hill is business. We suggest that you meet your lawmaker aides in informal/business attire or at least smart casual with a tie. Please find the dress code pictures for men here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Male_dress_code_in_Western_culture.png).
Women are expected to be in business attire as well.

(5) What is length of each meeting?

Each meeting may last for 45-60 minutes. Arriving on time at the meeting is important. The aides we are going to meet with will have appointments following ours and the aide will end the meeting as scheduled and will NOT let our appointment over run into the next appointment. So, please be on time.

(6) How early should I start every day?

Please do NOT underestimate the time it takes to get to the hill by Metro, then to the Situation room (if needed) and then your actual meeting. You will need to start 2 hours ahead of your meeting time from your hotel in the suburbs.

(7) What is the time between meetings?

Here is a general guideline on basis of which meetings are scheduled. Please be aware that the distance between some senate and house buildings is a lot and it can take up to 30 minutes from one building to another.

45 minutes between two meetings on the Senate Side
45 minutes between two meetings on the House Side
60 minutes between two meetings on the House Side and Senate Side
60 minutes between two meetings on the Senate Side and House Side

When ever possible, use the tunnels that connect the Senate/House buildings as this will help save time. Once you go out of the building, you have to go through security again. Refer to the map and this will information will also be provided in the war/situation room. Also read Question 12.

(8) Where should I come/report on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday
Situation Room?

IV has floor space for our brainstorming sessions on Sunday, early morning gathering sessions on Monday/Tuesday in the Capitol Hill Hyatt (http://washingtonregency.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp) located at 400 New Jersey Ave.

(9) Where is Situation Room?

Situation room is located in the Capitol Hill Hyatt (most probably in the lower level). Please ask the concierge or the front desk on Sunday when you arrive or check this space again towards the end of the week.

(10) What is Situation Room?

For those who were here for the 2007 Advocacy days, you do not need any explanation. For the new comers, this is the place where we brainstorm, form our groups, check which meetings we have for the day, pick up our material (or) flash drives with IV logo (this year) and gather again at the end of the day to provide feedback from the meetings.

(11) Is there a hot line number where I can call for help?
Yes, IV will set up a hotline. 202-386-6250.

(12) Are there any maps provided for the area?
Please download and print these maps (1 (http://www.thecapitol.net/MapsAndDirections/capitolhillmap.htm#Capitol_Hill_Buildings_) ,2 (http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i27/chugroberts/CapitolHillmap1.gif) & 3 (http://www.visitingdc.com/map/capitol-hill-map.htm)) for your convenience or have a smart phone with maps fully charged. Capitol area can be tough to navigate on the fly.

(13) Which meetings do I go to and who else will go with me to the meetings?

Your State Leader will provide this information to you.

(14) What material do I carry with me to the meetings and who will give me the material?

We may have one page of our issues and ask list in print and the rest of the information will be provided in flash drives with IV logos. The one page document is intended to provide a talking point map to the member. As members of the highly skilled immigrant community, we understand the importance of the environment and natural resources. So, We are going Green! and saving Paper, trees as much as we can. Please use the above sentences if an aide asks you why you are giving him/her a flash drive.

(15) What to say to the lawmakers in the meetings? How to put our point across?

A lot of this will be provided during brain storming sessions on Sunday. Please refer to the attached “How to Have a Successful Congressional Visit (http://immigrationvoice.org/media/HowTo_Guide_MeetLawmakers.doc)” and watch this space as well for updates.

pappu
05-31-2010, 10:35 AM
(16) What NOT to say in the meetings?

(a) Most lawmakers and their aides do not understand the forms I-140, I-485, Labor, Perm etc. While this jargon is common and is on our tongues every day, throwing all these words at your aide will bring the discussion to a micro level. Imagine what happens when some one is telling us some thing that we don't understand. We will NOT understand the issue they are trying to explain. Our goal is to hold a discussion at a higher level of abstraction and use common English rather than very specific immigration forms.

(b) When you visit a lawmaker office, avoid any discussion on the issue of the undocumented (Do NOT use words such as ILLEGAL/ALIEN/HISPANIC/MEXICAN etc). We are not going into these meetings to come out as elitists but to make champions of our issues and lawmakers have all kinds of constituents and they are all important to them. Please refrain from such discussion. Depending on the situation, discussion and the lawmaker’s position on the CIR, make sensible comments. A lot of this will be covered in our brainstorming sessions on Sunday.

Finally and most importantly, do NOT make this visit about YOU. This event is about US, all highly skilled immigrants (not just Indians, not just Chinese), the broken high skilled immigration system, American competitiveness and Entrepreneurship. The lawmaker’s aide already knows that you are coming to meet with them because you have an issue. This does not mean that you refrain from offering anecdotal evidence from your work such as how your employer suffered losses because of the inability to promote you or how you are unable to kick off a start up as a part of the discussion. Do NOT start with YOU and end with YOU

(17) Please tell me plans for the Sunday session?
Please Make sure you be there for the Sunday session. Sunday session will begin from 10:30 AM and will last till 9 PM. There will be several rounds of sessions lasting a couple of hours with breaks in between. You can attend any of these depending on your availability and arrival time. Use this day to also read the materials we would be providing you for meetings and ask us any questions you may have. You can meet others who would accompany you and brush up on talking points and plans for each meeting. We will also help you with some research on each lawmaker office. For example- position of the lawmaker office, voting record on past bills, issues championed in the past and present etc. Sunday sessions will be very helpful for getting fully prepared for next days of meetings.

(18) Please tell me plans for Monday and Tuesday? What are the agenda items other than meetings.
Monday June 7th, meeting with the legislative offices
Tuesday June 8th, Press conference in the morning; meeting with legislative offices and a congressional reception in the evening that will run to around 10 pm. So please book your flights back home on red eye flights Tuesday night or early morning flights on Wednesday.

(19) Where is the Congressional Reception?
The reception is at U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, Room HVC-200, at 5:30pm-7:30pm on June 8th

(20) Can I invite my Lawmaker office staff/Lawmaker for the Congressional Reception?
Absolutely. We encourage members inviting the staffers and Lawmaker be invited by our members. If you already have good rapport with the office it would be very helpful. Please contact Immigrationvoice and we would help provide you with a formal invitation for the office.

(21) Can I ask my lawyer to contribute for this event? Can I ask my lawyer to post about this event on his/her website? Can I ask my Lawyer to inform his/other clients about this event? Can I ask other Immigration website owners to post about this event?
Absolutely. Please go ahead and inform your lawyers about this event and request them to support this effort. Immigration voice will publicly acknowledge their support and thank them.

gc28262
05-31-2010, 11:46 AM
Pappu,

Thanks for the detailed information.

1. Regarding security checks, are there any items that are not allowed inside ?
( Hope laptops, smartphones etc are OK)

2. Why is smart trip cards not recommended ? Isn't it more convenient as it can be used both on bus and rail ?

spicy_guy
05-31-2010, 04:07 PM
You guys are organized and proactive. Good job, Pappu (and IV)!

devang77
06-01-2010, 10:40 AM
Hi,
I signed up for being available for the advocacy days.
My question is how do I know which meetings I will be a part of?

I understand that the FAQs say that the state leaders will inform individuals.
I have not received any communication from my state leader (I am in MD). Should I still keep the dates available?

Thanks in advance.

rockrocky
06-01-2010, 10:49 AM
Do we have a flyer for the congressional reception on Tuesday?
I would like to send that when I am inviting law makers office people.

Thanks.

newuser
06-01-2010, 11:15 AM
Hi,
I signed up for being available for the advocacy days.
My question is how do I know which meetings I will be a part of?

I understand that the FAQs say that the state leaders will inform individuals.
I have not received any communication from my state leader (I am in MD). Should I still keep the dates available?

Thanks in advance.

Same here. I'm from PA

shantanup
06-01-2010, 11:29 AM
Would there be a place to leave / store baggage at the Capitol Hill Hyatt hotel or any other convenient location during the day?

StarSun
06-01-2010, 11:37 AM
Hi,
I signed up for being available for the advocacy days.
My question is how do I know which meetings I will be a part of?

I understand that the FAQs say that the state leaders will inform individuals.
I have not received any communication from my state leader (I am in MD). Should I still keep the dates available?

Thanks in advance.

Same here. I'm from PA

You will be either contacted by the leader from your state or by me by Wednesday. Taking appointments is still an ongoing process, and the finalized will list be available only in the weekend. However, depending on how you have registered - Monday only or Tuesday only or both days - we will be setting up your appointment schedule.

If you have questions, please write to ivcoordinator@gmaiil.com.
Thanks

newuser
06-01-2010, 11:44 AM
You will be either contacted by the leader from your state or by me by Wednesday. Taking appointments is still an ongoing process, and the finalized will list be available only in the weekend. However, depending on how you have registered - Monday only or Tuesday only or both days - we will be setting up your appointment schedule.

If you have questions, please write to ivcoordinator@gmaiil.com.
Thanks

Thanks for the update.

StarSun
06-01-2010, 11:53 AM
Members registering as Maybe, the time to make the commitment is NOW - so please confirm your participation in the advocacy event. We have 3 and half working days left!!
Thanks

imh1b
06-01-2010, 02:01 PM
Is it possible to get live updates of DC happening for people who cannot come to DC?

vthattik
06-01-2010, 11:40 PM
Dear pappu,

I have a question. My friend and I want to attend all the three days event in DC. However, the last flight we could get was at approx. 10:15 PM on Tue, 8th 2010 to Atlanta.

You mentioned in your post that the Congressional Reception is between 5:30 and 7:30PM (point# 19). However, you mentioned that it may/will run until 10PM (point# 18).

My question is whether it's ok to leave around 8PM that evening so that we can get back to work next day or it's advisable to stay till 10 PM and fly back next day?

We'll be making travel arrangements as soon as I get a response.

Thanks in advance.

Administrator2
06-02-2010, 11:04 AM
Dear pappu,

I have a question. My friend and I want to attend all the three days event in DC. However, the last flight we could get was at approx. 10:15 PM on Tue, 8th 2010 to Atlanta.

You mentioned in your post that the Congressional Reception is between 5:30 and 7:30PM (point# 19). However, you mentioned that it may/will run until 10PM (point# 18).

My question is whether it's ok to leave around 8PM that evening so that we can get back to work next day or it's advisable to stay till 10 PM and fly back next day?

We'll be making travel arrangements as soon as I get a response.

Thanks in advance.

Thanks vthattik, it will be just fine if you confirm the tickets to fly out by flight at 10:15 PM on Tue, 8th 2010 to Atlanta. Please make your reservations at the earliest and let us know if you have any question.

Look forward to meeting you in Washington, DC.

rockrocky
06-02-2010, 12:40 PM
Do we have a flyer for the congressional reception on Tuesday?
I would like to send that when I am inviting law makers office people.

Thanks.

Do we have something to send to the lawmaker's office staff?

pappu
06-02-2010, 01:41 PM
Do we have something to send to the lawmaker's office staff?

It will be provided to you on Sunday as part of your 'To take for meetings' packet.

needhelp!
06-02-2010, 02:23 PM
Do we need to bring our own business cards?

pappu
06-02-2010, 04:51 PM
Do we need to bring our own business cards?

Yes that is a good idea.
There will also be IV business cards you can carry. We will be talking more about this in tomorrow's conference call for members who have confirmed their participation

nixstor
06-02-2010, 10:08 PM
Pappu,

Thanks for the detailed information.

1. Regarding security checks, are there any items that are not allowed inside ?
( Hope laptops, smartphones etc are OK)

Yes! Imagine it security business as usual.

2. Why is smart trip cards not recommended ? Isn't it more convenient as it can be used both on bus and rail ?

Because Smart Trip is a piece of plastic and it costs 10$ or so. So for you to get a value of 10$ you need to pay 20$. On the fare card, which is paper, you get 10$ for 10$.

pappu
06-03-2010, 08:56 AM
Conference call today at 9 PM for everyone coming to DC for advocacy day.

Call in numbers will only be given to those that have registered for the event. ImmigrationVoice.org - Advocacy Days - 7th & 8th June, 2010 (http://immigrationvoice.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=98&Itemid=132)

We have personally reached out to many of you to provide the details. If we have missed, please call us at Telephone: (202) 386-6250 or email us at info at immigrationvoice.org

pappu
06-03-2010, 02:59 PM
//\\

masterpua
06-03-2010, 04:14 PM
Conference call today at 9 PM for everyone coming to DC for advocacy day.


9 PM EST, right?

harivenkat
06-03-2010, 04:20 PM
For the benefit of those who might not be able to make it for the conference call... will this be recorded and made available...

pappu
06-03-2010, 04:56 PM
We will also be providing an opportunity for members coming to the event to meet with senior official/s (Name and title withheld on the public forum).

This will be a great avenue for everyone to directly interact with the officials whom people on the forums only know by name or look up for leadership in solving Immigration issues and seek their intervention.

harivenkat
06-04-2010, 09:32 AM
Would like to personally thank everybody and the organizers (Aman, Anu, Jay and others). It
was quite something to learn about the herculean effort carried out behind the scene by IV
members given the complexity of the task at hand. Kudos to you folks !

amitjoey
06-04-2010, 12:04 PM
Thank you for setting up the conference call. I am sure it helped a lot of us get a handle on what to expect, what is expected of us and the overall goal of the Advocacy event. Thank you Aman, Jay, Himanshu, Anu and very many other dedicated volunteers. All of you that are working tirelessly to make this event a success. Thank You.