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 130 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.

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 Incorportation.

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

“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

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

“The Center for Immigration Studies is one of the best organizations working on one of America’s most important problems.”
Richard D. Lamm, former Democratic Governor of Colorado

“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.”
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

"I want to congratulate the Center for Immigration Studies and especially Jessica Vaughn for their – for her very important work on this issue that is, I think, the key to understanding the solution to the problem we face today with illegal immigration."
Former U.S. Representative John Hostettler (R-IN)

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

“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

“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

“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

“I’ll applaud CIS again, they’ve done - to my knowledge - the first comprehensive study of what it means if Americans simply stand up and say, “we believe in the rule of law and we want elected officials that will enforce the law.”
Former U.S. Representative Tom Feeney (R-FL)

“The Center’s work is truly first rate.”
Frank Gaffney

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

“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

“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

"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

“I just received Jessica [Vaughan]'s newest critique of the US-VISIT Program, and like it a lot. . . . I don't see anybody else doing what she's done in the reporting of the problems with exit recording and estimating overstays.”
Senior Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office

“The materials sent to me are invaluable for my work.”
Shmuel Adler, Director, Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption

“[The Center’s website]…is best used by more sophisticated researchers than undergraduates.”
F. J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress, Choice Review, April 2003

“Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford style, three-on-three debate series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced the results of Tuesday night's debate [that included Mark Krikorian] on the motion, "Let's stop welcoming undocumented immigrants." A packed audience at Asia Society and Museum, New York City voted 60% for the motion and 37% against at the conclusion of the debate.”
Intelligence Squared U.S.