Frequently Asked Questions - Contacting Congress
This section includes commonly asked questions about contacting congresspeople.
- I don’t have long-distance calling on my home phone. Can I still call?
- Can I remain anonymous?
- What kinds of questions might be asked during a call?
- What do I say?
- What happens during the call?
- Who are the numbers for?
- Is it unusual to call?
- Who do I call?
- Is it safe to call if you're undocumented?
- Do I need to call?
-There are many options available to you if you do not have long-distance service on your home phone. As all congressional offices (unless they are the ones that are located in the state of the Senator/Representative in question) are in Washington DC, you will need to have access to some form of long-distance service. Most cell phone providers include long-distance calls in their plans so if you have a cell, you can call the DC offices of Congress members. If you do not have a cell phone, inexpensive phone cards are available at nearly all convenience stores around the nation. If you are really strapped for cash, there are toll-free numbers that will connect you with your Senators and Representative. The numbers are the following:
-Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform: 1-800-882-2005 (English) 1-800-417-7666 (Spanish)
-Congressional Switchboard: 1-800-828-0498
The Congressional Switchboard is often used by people for whom calling is expensive. An operator will answer "Capitol, how can I direct your call?" and all you need to tell them is the Senator's name and they'll connect you. This is a 1-800 number, it is completely free.
Yes, you are not obligated to give out your information though it always helps. Again there is no risk to this. Another method is using *67 when calling if you're still somehow concerned about your phone number. *67 blocks your phone number from being displayed on caller ID. Many cell phone and home services offer this for free. Check the costs before using.
After several thousand calls I can honestly tell you 90% of staffers will never ask you anything. They'll just listen to you and tell you they'll pass on your message. On some occasions they will ask you your zip code so that they know if you're calling from the Senator's state or not. More on this below. Rarely you will be asked for your name and/or address, more on this below. I've never been asked any question besides these.
When asked about your zip code...
This forum advocates honesty. We will NEVER tell you to lie when calling. If you wish to give out a fake zip code from that Senator's state you are doing it on your own and without our approval. You're free to do whatever you want.
When asked about your name...
Again, just like above you should be honest. There are really no consequences to giving your name because it will not be reported to anyone.
When asked about your address...
A third time, you should be honest. However, this question is asked because Senators want to send you a response to your question (just a generic letter that they send to everyone) or keep you on a mailing list so come election time they can send you newsletters. If you do not wish to give your address tell them you don't wish to give your address (obviously). You can also say you don't wish to receive correspondence from the Senator. This is perfectly normal.
Say what you wish to tell the Senator so it's pretty self explanatory. Some short examples:
"I'm calling to tell the Senator that I'd like him to vote for the DREAM Act." "I wanted to let the Senator know that I'd like him/her to support the DREAM Act." "I think that the DREAM Act is an important proposal and feel that the Senator should support it." "I'm calling to remind the Senator about my support for the DREAM Act and I hope that he will vote for it."
If you really wish to make your point you can go on for quite a while reminding them of some of DREAM's provisions and benefits. If you're leaving a message, especially at night, please try to make it detailed and explain why exactly you support it.
If you are calling a representative from your state MAKE SURE YOU LET THEM KNOW THIS.
A staff member will answer the call in a usual way "Senator Durbin's office, how can I help you?" and wait for your message and in 90% of the cases will say, "Thank you, I'll let the Senator know," and just hang up.
The 202 area code numbers you will most often see on this site are Congressional offices of each Senator, located in Washington DC. They are the main numbers for all calls for that Senator.
Congressional offices receive hundreds if not thousands of calls daily on many matters. There is absolutely nothing strange or unusual about you calling. It may seem like a big deal but it's the easiest call you've ever made. I'm serious about that, it's far easier than any customer service or 1-800 or any kind of a call like that.
First call your representatives in Congress. That means your two Senators and one House representative.
You can find out who your Senators and Representative is by entering your zip code in the upper right hand corner of this page:
click on their name and it will list their the number for their Washington DC office (202 area code) or you can also call a local office.
You will see calling lists on this site with names of Senators from other states who need to be called most often so they should be the priority.
To find ANY Senator's phone number you can use the list below and dial 1-202-224 + the 4 digit code for their office.
To find any Senator or Representative from any state use this site
Absolutely! Nobody will ever ask if you're legal or not or put your name or number on any kind of immigration list. Congressional offices have absolutely nothing to do with ICE or any kind of immigration enforcement. It is absolutely 100% safe to call, it's probably safer than starting a new email account.
We've been calling for months, some for years and we're still here. People on this forum have written letters in their own name, still here. Some of them met Senators in person and everyone knew they were undocumented and they are all still here. Nobody there has any reason to report you, they never do that. We're all a little afraid at the beginning but there is really no reason to.
Senators very often say they've been receiving calls about something. Calling is probably the single most efficient and effective means of fighting for our cause. People who oppose us call early and often and your calls are needed if you want the DREAM Act to happen. People here contribute so much to this effort and it is your responsibility to both us and yourself to call. Unless you're busy sitting in front of the Capitol building advocating DREAM, you MUST, MUST, MUST call. It is the only way we can win enough support for this to pass.
We were almost there last time. They beat us out by a small margin. You can count on the people who called then to call again but someone new must provide the extra effort necessary to tip the balance in our favor. "Someone else" isn't going to do it, you need to step up to the task.