About the Center for Immigration Studies

Who We Are

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. Since our founding in 1985 by Otis Graham Jr., we have pursued a single mission – providing immigration policymakers, the academic community, news media, and concerned citizens with reliable information about the social, economic, environmental, security, and fiscal consequences of legal and illegal immigration into the United States. Our staff has testified before Congress over 150 times.

We are the nation’s only think tank devoted exclusively to the research of U.S. immigration policy to inform policymakers and the public about immigration’s far-reaching impact. The Center is animated by a unique pro-immigrant, low-immigration vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.

The Center is governed by a diverse board of directors that has included active and retired university professors, civil rights leaders, and former government officials. Our research and analysis has been funded by contributions and grants from dozens of private foundations, from the U.S. Census Bureau and Justice Department, and from generous individual donors.

Our board, our staff, our researchers, and our contributor base are not predominantly "liberal" or predominantly "conservative." Instead, we believe in common that debates about immigration policy that are well-informed and grounded in objective data will lead to better immigration policies.

The data collected by the Center during the past quarter-century has led many of our researchers to conclude that current, high levels of immigration are making it harder to achieve such important national objectives as better public schools, a cleaner environment, homeland security, and a living wage for every native-born and immigrant worker. These data may support criticism of US immigration policies, but they do not justify ill feelings toward our immigrant community.

Financial Information

We take our fiduciary responsibilities seriously, striving to be good stewards of the donations entrusted to us. (Donate here.) Our latest financial audit is available here and our most recent federal tax return (form 990) is available here.

Center Staff

View our staff list

Founding Board Members

Otis Graham (Founding Chairman), University of North Carolina
Vernon Briggs, Cornell University
Leon Bouvier, Old Dominion University
Roger Conner, Vanderbilt Law School
George W. Grayson, The College of William and Mary
Malcolm Lovell
Frank Morris, formerly of Morgan State University and former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
Liz Paddock

View our Articles of Incorporation

Internship Program

Undergraduate and law school interns are accepted for all semesters. Work hours, typically 20-35 hours per week, are flexible and unpaid. Interns assist the Center’s staff with a variety of research, media relations, and administrative tasks. Also, interns will likely attend and summarize into blog postings the Center’s events, Congressional hearings, and other immigration related events.

Applications are accepted year-round, though earlier applicants will have a particular advantage. To apply, please send you cover letter and resume as an e-mail attachments to [email protected]. Read about our internship program.

Kudos for the Center

I would like to thank the Center for Immigration Studies. CIS has been doing outstanding work on the immigration issue, which is very broad and complex, for many years. The Center works closely with my aides and informs my work. CIS also does a great job of helping inform and educate new members of the Senate and the Congress who come to Washington oftentimes not that knowledgeable about the immigration issue because it’s mostly a federal issue. -- U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

“The Center for Immigration Studies has been an invaluable partner on all things immigration reform and border security during my time in Congress. Their research and expertise is second to none and both members of Congress and the American people owe them our gratitude for their contributions to public policy.” -- Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX)

"You and CIS have been tremendous allies, time and again, and this is a fact, I call your team and say, 'How many people are involved in this or what do you know about that? What does the economic data show about this kind of policy or that kind of policy?' You are one of the top groups, maybe the top group in the country, in terms of being able to actually help congressmen or senators engaged in the fight and I appreciate that very much, it was invaluable." -- Jeff Sessions, Former Senator (R-AL) and Attorney General

"To the folks who are watching, please support CIS. When I was the director of ICE, even when I was running ERO (Enforcement Removal Operations [as] number three at ICE), CIS was a great help to the rule of law and helping ICE do their job. And they're on the right side of the argument, folks. We're in a fight for our lives right now; we're in a fight for this country. CIS gets it, they're on the right side of the issues and they're helping shape immigration in the future so please support them." -- Tom Homan, Former ICE Acting Director

“The Center for Immigration Studies brings a credible and articulate voice to a very contentious debate.” -- Former U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX)

“Most of us don’t have time to go out and crunch the numbers and census data and go through all of this. I just want to thank CIS for providing invaluable research. You can be sure the other side has plenty of money and plenty of numbers, a lot of it not very accurate.” -- Former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

“Their studies are indispensable to the work we do at the Civil Rights Commission and, in fact, indispensable to the discourse on the debate on immigration nationwide. Had it not been for the groundwork done by the Center for Immigration Studies our immigration policy would be radically different right now.” -- Peter Kirsanow, member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

"CIS has of course been the premier think tank on immigration issues…" -- U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

"I have to give this major plug for CIS. There are very few of these research outfits that are doing yeoman's work for the people of this country. Really producing studies and definitive research on the definitive effects of open borders in this country - on our schools, infrastructure, security, and the refugee issue. No one comes close to CIS. You get asked to donate money to all sorts of organizations, and if we need one group on the issue of immigration we need this group. They've been invaluable to me personally and have really shed light on these important topics." -- Laura Ingraham, Fox News 

"It is always a pleasure having [CIS] as a guest on my shows as your expertise on immigration issues never fails to make every conversation more interesting and informative." -- Neil Cavuto, Fox News

"[T]he Center for Immigration Studies is the leading academic voice in favor of decreasing immigration in the U.S." -- ABC News 

“I don't necessarily agree with the positions…but I greatly value the clear and non-vituperative way you express a set of arguments that my students really need to wrestle with. Some are even persuaded.” -- David Martin, University of Virginia Law Professor, Principal Deputy General Counsel of the DHS, former State Department Official and former General Counsel to the INS

“The Center is a leading voice in the drive to inform policymakers and the public about immigration’s far-reaching impact.” -- Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), Immigration Subcommittee Chairman

“The Center is doing important work to focus attention on the important role of the current rapid U.S. population growth in dealing with the many environmental problems we face in this country.” -- Doug La Follette, Wisconsin’s Democratic Secretary of State; Sierra Club National Board Member

“The reliable and credible reports issued by your organization are a tremendous asset to our country.” -- Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum

“Your analyses and other immigration reporting are excellent and I want to congratulate you and CIS for keeping this vital policy issue on the front burner.” -- Joaquin Otero, former Deputy Under Secretary of Labor, and AFL-CIO Vice President

“The Center’s work is truly first rate.” -- Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy

“I rely on the work of the Center of Immigration studies all the time. The Center brings a responsible, fact-based approach to a hot-button issue, and is an invaluable asset to the cause of sensible immigration reform. Its research routinely debunks entrenched misconceptions about our immigration policy. I can't say enough about the Center - its work is intelligent, courageous, and altogether indispensable.” -- Rich Lowry, National Review

“I’ve found your insights keen, your reports provocative, and your news service quite useful . . . you guys are the ones who have raised the tone in the immigration debate.” -- Scott Baldauf, Christian Science Monitor

“CIS is the most reliable source of solid research on immigration issues.” -- Former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO)

“…[J]ust thankful you guys are out there doing this great work.” -- Robert J. Bodisch, Deputy Director, Office of Homeland Security

Mark Krikorian is a “great national resource.” -- William Bennett, Washington Fellow of the Claremont Institute

"The Center has established itself in the immigration debate as a body which, while being restrictionist in its general outlook, nonetheless produces economic research on immigration that is valuable to all sides in the debate." -- John O'Sullivan, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute