The president’s prime-time address this evening kicks off a week of intensified lobbying by advocacy groups as the Senate debates different proposals for tightening the borders and—in some cases—affording undocumented immigrants a way to normalize their status. There’s a push to make phone calls to swing senators like New York’s Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton as well as a slate of local events, including a march in Jackson Heights on Wednesday evening. The point of all the outreach is to remind folks of the hundreds of thousands who turned out in American cities weeks ago to protest some of the more draconian policy ideas that are on the table.
The question is whether public discourse will turn on meaty issues like deportation proceedings and family reunification, or flashy harrumph magnets like whether to militarize the U.S.-Mexican border. And for immigrant advocates who’ve billed the recent protests as the start of a long-term, far-reaching civil rights movement, the week will be a test of whether the multitudes in the streets translate into actual political clout.