A review and redraft of AARO’s Overview (which serves as an “executive summary”) and specific position papers on taxation, banking access, access to agencies and due process, citizenship, voting and social security was carried out this summer to ensure their accuracy and consistency with recent developments.
The updated Overview and position papers can be found on the AARO website. https://www.staging2.aaro.org/position-papers-2020/issues-overview. This work was undertaken to facilitate AAROs ongoing efforts to ensure that the issues of greatest concern to AARO members were taken into account during this election year.
AARO has adopted a targeted approach to communicate its positions. Fellow Board members Laura Snyder and DC-based Kathleen Mistry, who along with the VP for Advocacy, hail from Illinois, have sent personalized letters to Illinois congresspersons who are playing major national roles this year. We have nurtured close relationships with their staffs over the years through meetings during AARO’s annual Overseas Americans Week visits to Washington and in Illinois constituency offices throughout the year.
Personalized communication of AARO’s position paper updates were also sent to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, chair of the Overseas Americans congressional caucus, and other figures who are playing important roles in the campaigns of the two major parties and who have shown particular interest in overseas Americans.
As has been AARO’s practice in past election years, we have asked congresspersons and party leaders to state whether and how they will support AARO’s positions and thereby provide AARO members with key information that they may use in their voting decisions.
Board member Doris Speer has also drafted an extensive survey to determine specific issues that concern AARO members. Overseas Americans have often felt as though they are targeted and hit with unexpected complications in key areas like voting rights, banking, taxes and passports. The survey is being sent to members to solicit information on what they are experiencing in order to use the results to refine our message as we reach out to Congress and government agencies. Although we are sending the survey to AARO members, we hope that other Americans living outside the U.S. will also respond.
AARO’s advocacy is certainly not limited to Overseas Americans Week but is a year-long endeavor. In addition, our targeted approach, which takes advantage of relationships and emphasizes communication with Congress by their constituents has proven to be effective and a useful corollary to our general broad-based national outreach.
We strongly encourage individual AARO members to advocate alongside us in our ongoing drive to increase awareness of the problems Americans abroad face and the solutions we propose to alleviate them. Letting your congressperson know of your individual concerns and general support of AARO positions (easily found on our website) is the best form of advocacy, particularly during an election year!
Fred Einbinder, V.P. Advocacy