Backers of immigration reform are trying anything they can to champion the massive reform bill as it moves to the Senate. And on Wednesday, two prominent Democratic lawmakers sought to drum up support by jumping aboard the latest social media craze: Vines, or short looping videos made for Twitter.
In his Vine, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is taped from his office telling supporters emphatically to: "Seize the moment, pass our immigration bill. Great for tech great for America."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's vine is more matter of fact: "I support immigration reform because it's the right thing to do and it strengthens social security," the Nevada Democrat said.
The videos were made as a part of a larger virtual march on Washington that kicked off Wednesday, during which politicos, celebrities and technologists are calling on supporters of immigration reform to ping their senators and ask them to vote for the bill. At 1 p.m. Wednesday, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenagger will host a Twitter town hall to draw support, and hip hop mogul Russell Simmons will do same Thursday morning.
The March For Innovation is being pushed both by prominent Republicans, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and conservative tax watchdog Grover Norquist. Also on board are noted Democrats, including Newark, N.J., mayor Cory Booker, Chicago Mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg's immigration coalition, the Partnership for a New American Economy, is behind the march.
Jeremy Robbins, a spokesman for the group, says the goal is to create a "digital storm" to influence senators' votes.
"We didn't know if this would spread nationwide because the tech bases are in just a few states," he says. "But already we're seeing Kentucky, Iowa, Georgia. So people are doing this all over the country."
By our count, hundreds of people on Twitter had sent messages to their senators by Wednesday morning. The messages came in from across the country, and looked like this:
— Nicole San Martin (@nicolesanm) May 22, 2013
— iWillB... (@w1llum) May 22, 2013
By Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama had joined in the march too, tweeting seven messages of support to his more than 31 million followers and garnering thousands of responses.