Center for Immigration Studies

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is a think tank that, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has "been part of a broad-based and well-planned effort to attack immigration in all forms" even though it now seeks -- and has largely attained -- more mainstream credentials.[1] It bills itself as an "independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization"[2] and testified before Congress almost 100 times between 1995 and 2009.[1] According to its website, CIS is "the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States." CIS states that its vision of America is "pro-immigrant, low-immigration," seeking "fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted."[2] But according to the SPLC, "the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked."[1] CIS is part of the John Tanton Network, the anti-immigrant "empire of organizations" created by, or connected to, population-control advocate and nativist John Tanton.

In 2011, the organization reported $2,052,961 in total revenue, $2,064,336 in total expenses, and $1,751,778 in net assets.[3]

FAIR and the John Tanton Network

According to People for the American Way, CIS "was founded as a think tank to support the more activist work of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)."[4] Together with FAIR, and several other anti-immigration organizations (such as NumbersUSA, etc.), CIS forms part of what has been dubbed the John Tanton Network, which has worked to enact restrictive immigration laws and against broader immigration reform.[5][6]

Lobbying Against the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill

In 2013, CIS played a major role in fighting the immigration reform bill, part of a proposal introduced by a bipartisan group of senators in January.[6] CIS has received over $6 million in donations from the anti-immigration group called the Colcom Foundation, started by Cordelia Scaife May, a close friend of John Tanton and sister to Richard Scaife of the right-wing Scaife Foundations.[6] Executive Direction Mark Krikorian appeared in Congress to testify against the bill, claiming that "virtually all illegal aliens are guilty of multiple felonies" -- quite the example of CIS' "pro-immigrant" vision.[6]


In 2011, the organization reported $2,052,961 in total revenue, $2,064,336 in total expenses, and $1,751,778 in net assets.[7]

Although CIS does not disclosed its donors -- its website says that it is "funded by contributions and grants from dozens of private foundations, from the U.S. Census Bureau and Justice Department, and from hundreds of generous individual donors"[8] -- it received almost $10 million in funding from 1995 to 2011 from just 13 right wing foundations, according to annual reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission reviewed by the Bridge Project of American Bridge 21st Century Foundation:[9]

In addition, the CIS website states that it "was granted about half a million dollars in research grants from the Justice Department and the Census Bureau over the last decade."[10]



As of June 2013:[11]

  • Mark Krikorian, Executive Director
  • Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research

Board of Directors

CIS shares several board members with FAIR.

As of June 2013:[11]

Former board members include:[12]


As of June 2013:[11]

  • Don Barnett
  • Glynn Custred
  • Marti Dinerstein
  • James R. Edwards, Jr.
  • Janice Kephart, National Security Fellow
  • John Miano
  • Ronald W. Mortensen
  • David North
  • Stanley Renshon
  • David Seminara

Former Fellows include:[13]

  • Michael Cutler
  • Jan Ting

Eugene Katz Award For Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration

CIS gives out an award for journalistic coverage of immigration "to promote informed and fair reporting on this contentious and complicated issue." [14]

  • 2013: Bob Segall, WTHR Indianapolis
  • 2012: Sarah Ryley, The Daily
  • 2011: Leo Banks, Tucson Weekly
  • 2010: Arnold Shapiro, Executive Director of "Homeland Security USA"
  • 2009: Jaxon Van Derbeken, the San Francisco Chronicle
  • 2008: Heather Mac Donald, the City Journal
  • 2007: Stephen Dinan, the Washington Times
  • 2006: Sara Carter, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA)
  • 2005: Jerry Seper, the Washington Times
  • 2004: Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN)
  • 2003: Joel Mowbray, National Review
  • 2002: August Gribbin, the Washington Times
  • 2000: William Branigin, the Washington Post
  • 1999: Jayne Noble Suhler and Ed Timms, the Dallas Morning News
  • 1998: Marcus Stern, Copley News Service (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • 1997: Jonathan Tilove, Newhouse News Service

Contact Information

Center for Immigration Studies
1629 K Street N.W., Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 466-8185
Fax: (202) 466-8076

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Southern Poverty Law Center, CIS: The "Independent" Think Tank, organizational article, February 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 CIS, "About Us", organizational website, accessed June 2013
  3. Center for Immigration Studies, Inc., 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 7, 2012.
  4. People for the American Way, [‎ "Center for Immigration Studies"], Right Web organizational website, accessed November 2004.
  5. Ian Gordon, "The Immigration Hardliner Family Tree, MotherJones, March/April 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Katie Lorenze, "Scaife-Funded Network Works Hard to Kill Immigration Reform,", May 31, 2013.
  7. Center for Immigration Studies, Inc., 2011 Form 990, organizational annual IRS filing, November 7, 2012.
  8. Center for Immigration Studies, About, organizational website, accessed June 2013.
  9. American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Recipient: Center for Immigration Studies, Bridge Project organizational profile, accessed June 2013.
  10. Center for Immigration Studies, Center for Immigration Studies, organizational alternate website, accessed June 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 CIS, "Center for Immigration Studies Staff," organizational website, accessed June 2013.
  12. CIS, About, organizational website, accessed September 13, 2010.
  13. About, Center for Immigration Studies, accessed September 17, 2008.
  14. CIS, "Eugene Katz Award For Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration," organizational website, accessed June 2013.