I'm currently in US on a green card. For various reasons I'd like to engage in political process which involves sending mail to representatives.

Usually the prepared letters involve language such as "as a constituent". I know I cannot vote or pretend to be a US citizen. However I cannot find a clear definition of constituent - is it all people who live in a given district or is it all the people who are allowed to vote?

  • 1
    Write to them as a "resident"
    – Dale M
    Aug 27, 2017 at 2:11

2 Answers 2


The representatives and senators represent both voting and non-voting residents of their district. In fact, every member of Congress has a section of their office devoted to helping people they represent in their dealings with federal agencies, which mostly ends up helping people with immigration cases, and people with immigration cases are almost all non-citizens, who cannot vote for Congress. (If you go to your Congressman's website, there will likely be a section about contacting them for help with an immigration case.) Therefore, your members of Congress definitely represent you, and I would say you are their constituent. Though that depends on what you think the definition of "constituent" is -- whether it means a voter or someone who is represented.

In the decision for Evenwel v. Abbott (2016), the Supreme Court wrote:

Nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates and in receiving constituent services. By ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total-population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation.

which uses "constituent" in a way that includes non-voters.

  • This answer is more accurate. Nobody asks if you vote when you call your legislator’s office (although they certainly are equipped to find out). You may need to be a citizen in order to take advantage of certain services, but that’s outside the scope of this question.
    – A.fm.
    Aug 27, 2017 at 18:05
  • "almost all"? How could a citizen have an immigration case?
    – phoog
    Aug 27, 2017 at 18:54
  • Claims of falsely obtained citizenship, or disputes regarding dual citizenship...
    – user4657
    Aug 27, 2017 at 19:35
  • 1
    @phoog: Well, perhaps if a citizen petitions someone, and that petition is taking way longer than usual, the citizen petitioner could seek assistance from the legislator?
    – user102008
    Aug 28, 2017 at 3:28
  • @Nij if the US claims fraudulent naturalization they'll take you to court, in which case you'll need a lawyer, not a congressional representative. As to disputes regarding dual citizenship, the US does not forbid dual citizenship or even pay much attention to its citizens other citizenships.
    – phoog
    Aug 28, 2017 at 4:18

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary:

constituent being a voting member of a community or organization and having the power to appoint or elect

It appears that the general understanding is that you should have the right to vote, and belong to a specified community such as a city, state or country, to be a constituent.

Of course, you could simply substitute that term for something else.

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