ImmigrationWorks USA

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ImmigrationWorks USA
FoundedJuly 18, 2008; 10 years ago (2008-07-18)[1]
Legal status501(c)(4) nonprofit organization[2]
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.[2]
Tamar Jacoby[2]
Revenue (2016)
Expenses (2016)$91,290[2]
Employees (2017)

ImmigrationWorks USA was a national 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization in the United States that advocated for freer movement of workers, representing the interests of businesses who would like to be able to hire migrant workers more freely. It linked 25 state-based coalitions of businesses.[3] The organization also had a sister foundation, ImmigrationWorks Foundation, that was a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization.[4]


Tamar Jacoby, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and long-time advocate of free movement of labor, was the CEO-cum-President of ImmigrationWorks USA.[5][6]


According to the ImmigrationWorks website and a GiveWell writeup on the organization, ImmigrationWorks had the following stated principles:[4][7]

  • A legal system that works: Bringing the United States' annual legal intake of foreigners in line with the country's labor needs.
  • Smarter, better enforcement that would be made easier by the reduced incentives to migrate illegally once labor movement has been liberalized.
  • Worksite verification that does not penalize employers for errors in government databases.
  • A remedy for past mistakes: Finding a middle ground for dealing with the current unauthorized population that involves neither deportation nor amnesty.
  • Protecting U.S. workers by holding legal foreign workers to the same labor standards as domestic workers are held.
  • Washington and the states: Immigration policy is a federal responsibility, and must ultimately be resolved at the federal level.

Charity evaluator GiveWell, in its review, stated: "In practice, IW focuses primarily on the first of these bullet points, and its advocacy efforts tend to be oriented towards Republicans."[4]


ImmigrationWorks worked to facilitate more grassroots lobbying by local businesses, as well as public opinion research and lobbying legislators. On request from charity evaluator GiveWell, ImmigrationWorks prepared a list of things they would do with additional money (that they then received from Good Ventures):[4][8]

  1. Advocacy for immigration reform
  2. Public opinion research
  3. Building consensus around policy

External reviews[edit]

Charity evaluator and effective altruism organization GiveWell reviewed ImmigrationWorks as a potential funding opportunity and, based on the review, recommended that Good Ventures make an unrestricted grant of $285,000 to ImmigrationWorks. Good Ventures made the grant in July 2014.[4][8]

In its review, GiveWell noted that ImmigrationWorks was one of the most prominent organizations advocating for freer migration of low-skilled workers to the United States. GiveWell argued that advocacy for low-skilled migration may be a better use of marginal funds, both because of the greater upside (there are more low-skilled workers, they are currently more heavily barred from entering, and they experience greater utility gains from migrating) and because there were fewer organizations focused on pushing for low-skilled migration, so there was more room for marginal additional impact.[4] GiveWell mentioned two other groups that promote low-skilled migration to the United States: the Partnership for a New American Economy and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but noted that ImmigrationWorks was more focused on low-skilled migration. GiveWell also mentioned (which does not promote low-skilled migration at all) and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition (EWIC), a consortium that includes ImmigrationWorks and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but has no staff of its own.[4]


According to a New York Times article, Tamar Jacoby, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, was motivated to create ImmigrationWorks USA after seeing the political difficulties that ensnared the attempted passage of immigration reform in 2006.[6] ImmigrationWorks USA started operations in 2008 so as to help employers make their case for the need for freer movement of workers more effectively to politicians as well as the general public. Their work, including a successful lobbying effort in Arizona, was reported in The New York Times in 2008.[9]

According to ProPublica, ImmigrationWorks USA submitted Internal Revenue Service documentation from 2008 to 2016 as a tax exempt non-profit organization.[10] ProPublica does not list analogous "form 990" information from 2017 or 2018.


ImmigrationWorks receives funding from a number of foundations, including the Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation,[11] Four Freedoms Fund, and Open Society Institute.[4] In July 2014, Good Ventures, the private foundation of Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, made an unrestricted grant of $285,000 USD to ImmigrationWorks, drawing on GiveWell's investigation of the organization.[8]

Media coverage[edit]

ImmigrationWorks USA has been covered by The New York Times[6][9] and its president and CEO, Tamar Jacoby, has been cited in NYT articles on immigration to the United States.[12][13] Jacoby has also been cited repeatedly in her capacity as ImmigrationWorks USA CEO in The Wall Street Journal.[14][15][16] ImmigrationWorks USA has also been cited in Forbes,[17] Business Insider,[18] and The Economist.[19]


  1. ^ "ImmigrationWorks USA". District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Government of the District of Columbia. Accessed on April 19, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". ImmigrationWorks USA. Guidestar. December 31, 2016.
  3. ^ "Our Mission". ImmigrationWorks USA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "ImmigrationWorks grant". GiveWell. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  5. ^ "Tamar Jacoby, President & CEO". ImmigrationWorks USA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "The Post-Mortem". The New York Times. June 30, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  7. ^ "Principles". ImmigrationWorks USA. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "ImmigrationWorks Foundation — General Support". July 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Preston, Julia (July 6, 2008). "U.S. employers challenge crackdown on illegal immigrants". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  10. ^ "ImmigrationWorks USA". ProPublica. Archived from the original on |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help). Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "ImmigrationWorks Foundation". Ford Foundation. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Preston, Julia; Greenhouse, Steven (April 13, 2009). "Immigration Accord by Labor Boosts Obama Effort". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "Immigrant Children in Legal Limbo". The New York Times. April 22, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  14. ^ Murray, Sara (April 16, 2013). "Immigration Bill's Price Tag an Issue". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  15. ^ Murray, Sara (August 8, 2013). "Businesses Push for More Low-Skill Visas. Measures in Immigration Bills Could Boost Number of Temporary Laborers; Critics See Them as a Ploy to Get Cheap Labor". Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  16. ^ Meckler, Laura (September 22, 2013). "Immigration Advocates Consider a Compromise. Plan Would Offer Legal Status, Not a 'Special Path' to Citizenship, as Comprehensive Bill Stalls". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  17. ^ Anderson, Stuart (April 16, 2013). "Too Few Work Visas in New Immigration Bill". Forbes. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  18. ^ Sarlin, Benjy (April 18, 2013). "What Immigration Advocates Don't Like About The New Reform Bill". Business Insider. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  19. ^ "Immigration: The border closes. Tougher enforcement and the recession have cut the flow of immigrants; but the state of the economy has made it harder to overhaul a broken system". The Economist. December 18, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2014.

External links[edit]

Official website