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The Center for Immigration Studies

The Center for Immigration Studies

The Center for Immigration Studies: A Closer Look at Its Impact and Controversies


Immigration is a contentious issue in many countries, especially in the United States of America. For decades, various organizations and think tanks have been established with the primary aim of shaping the immigration debate. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is one such organization that has garnered significant attention in recent years. Founded in 1985, the Center for Immigration Studies is a think-tank based in Washington, DC, that advocates for reduced immigration levels and stricter enforcement of immigration laws. This article closely examines the Center for Immigration Studies, including its history, primary objectives, and controversies, and the impact of its research on the immigration policy debate in the US.

History and Objectives of CIS

The Center for Immigration Studies was established in 1985 by Dr. John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist and environmentalist. According to its website, CIS is an independent, non-partisan, research organization that aims to provide policy solutions to problems related to immigration. CIS has three primary objectives, according to its website:

1. To demonstrate the social, economic, and environmental consequences of immigration in the US.

2. To analyze and report on immigration trends and their implications.

3. To examine the impact of immigration on US wages, employment, and working conditions.

Over the years, CIS has produced hundreds of reports and studies that highlight the negative effects of immigration, such as its negative impact on American wages and employment, the strain it puts on social services, and the harm it poses to the environment.

Controversies and Criticism

The Center for Immigration Studies’ stance on immigration has attracted significant controversies and criticism, mainly from immigrant rights advocacy groups who accuse the organization of promoting xenophobia and racism. Here are some of the controversies that have surrounded the organization over the years:

1. Allegations of Racism: Critics have accused the Center for Immigration Studies of promoting views that are overtly racist. For instance, the founder of CIS, Dr. John Tanton, has been linked to white nationalist groups and has made derogatory comments about Mexicans and African Americans.

2. Ties to Anti-Immigrant Groups: CIS has been accused of having close ties to other anti-immigrant groups, including those that hold extreme views. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for instance, has listed CIS as a hate group and has accused it of using its research to promote a white nationalist agenda.

3. Questionable Research Methods: The Center for Immigration Studies’ research methods have also come under scrutiny. Critics have accused the organization of using biased sampling methods to produce research that supports their anti-immigrant stance. For example, CIS has been known to use opinion polls of self-selected respondents, which are not representative of the US population.

4. Funding Sources: There have been questions about the sources of funding for the Center for Immigration Studies. A report by the Center for New Community found that the organization had received funding from anti-immigrant groups and had also collaborated with groups that are known for promoting racism and bigotry.

Impact on Immigration Debate

The Center for Immigration Studies has had a significant impact on the immigration policy debate in the US. It has been successful in pushing its anti-immigrant agenda by framing the debate around emotive issues such as job losses, crime, and national security. Here are some of the ways in which CIS has influenced the immigration debate:

1. Influencing Government Policy: The Center for Immigration Studies’ research has been used to support the passage of anti-immigrant policies at the federal, state, and local levels. For example, CIS’ research has been used to justify the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, which has been one of the major pillars of the Trump administration’s immigration policy.

2. Shaping Public Opinion: CIS has been successful in shaping public opinion on immigration issues. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who believe that immigrants are a burden on the country has risen from 31% in 1994 to 58% in 2018, due in part to the work of CIS.

3. Influencing Media Coverage: The Center for Immigration Studies has actively sought to influence media coverage of immigration issues. CIS conducts regular media briefings and press conferences, and its experts often appear on cable news shows to discuss immigration issues. CIS has also been known to supply journalists with information that supports its anti-immigrant views.

4. Impact on the Courts: The Center for Immigration Studies’ research has also been used in court cases related to immigration issues. For instance, CIS research has been cited in court cases related to sanctuary cities and DACA.

Updates on CIS

Currently, the Center for Immigration studies contributors and analysts have several contributions to the immigration policy debate in the US. According to their website, CIS online events discuss a variety of immigration-related topics such as the effects of immigration on the economy, education, welfare systems, international affairs, and more. They have contributed several studies on the effect of immigration policies on the United States’ economy, population, crime rate, and how immigrants affect native workers. The Center for Immigration Studies’ updates can provide more insight into their contributions to the immigration policy debate in the United States.


The Center for Immigration Studies is a major player in the immigration policy debate in the United States. While its research has been instrumental in shaping the debate, the organization has faced significant controversies and criticism for promoting xenophobia and racism. Nevertheless, CIS has continued to influence the immigration debate in the US and has been successful in pushing for policies that are in line with its anti-immigrant agenda. It is essential to scrutinize the work done by think tanks and advocacy groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies to ensure that policies enacted are equitable, sensible, and in the best interest of the country.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is a non-profit organization which was founded in 1985 that advocates the reduction of immigration within the United States. Since it is a 501(c)(3) organization (meaning that it is established for religious, charitable, scientific reasons) it has a limited ability to involve itself in political affairs. It is regarded by many and by itself as a non-partisan conservative organization.

The mission statement of the Center Immigration Studies basically emphasizes its belief in a pro-immigration, low-immigration United States. It states that in the importance of public interest, the nation would benefit from a lower immigration rate, but in return, the fewer immigrants admitted into the United States would receive a “warmer” welcome.

Publications and Presence in Congress:

The CIS has published quite a few readings pertaining to immigration law studies, which are available both in print and on the internet. It has published books, op-eds and even filmed videos on immigration policy. The CIS has also taken advantage of blogging as a medium of keeping users up-to-date of immigration law studies. All of CIS’s publications are available to everyone free online.

The CIS has also been called upon to give congressional testimony for various subjects, especially during the immigration reform talks of 2006 and 2007. The organization has given testimony to federal and state legislators on several occasions.

Views About Immigration Law Studies:

One of the underlying stances the CIS takes on immigration law studies is something called “attrition through enforcement”. This means reducing the population of illegal immigrants by tightening up immigration laws and enforcement. Through increased deportation rates and the rate of illegal immigrants leaving through free-will, the CIS believes that the number of illegal immigrants will continue to decline through the years rather than increasing as it has in the recent past. The CIS believes that the steady increase of illegal immigrants has developed into a “looming crisis” and through proper immigration laws, it can be shrunken down into a “manageable nuisance”.

In addition, the CIS does not support the act of mass deportation because the United States does not have the means to hunt for and detain millions of illegal immigrants in such a short period of time. The organization also believes that such a drastic change would be detrimental to the economy and the transition would hurt big business who have been employing and relying on illegal labor for low wages.

CIS supports “E-Verify,” a system enacted by the United States government, in which employees working for companies legally can verify themselves as so. The program is run by Department of Homeland Security along with the Social Security Administration.

The Center for Immigration Studies also is concerned about the population of the United States, how it is affected by immigration, and what the increase of population does to the environment. On a micro level, the CIS released footage of the damage done by illegal immigrants smuggling across the southern border in Arizona. It shows the trash that they level behind in areas where wildlife is predominant. It also gives a stance on the macro level, that if the immigration laws continue as they are, the U.S. population would increase to dangerous numbers over the next fifty years.