Grantee Highlight: NILC Immigrant Justice Fund

Note from the CREDO team: This November, the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund is among three amazing groups that will receive a share of our monthly grant. Funding from the CREDO community will fuel the organization’s legislative advocacy, messaging research, and electoral work geared toward advancing inclusive, equitable policies that improve the lives of low-income immigrants and their loved ones.

Please take a minute to read this important blog post from IJF, then click here to visit to cast your vote to help determine how we distribute our monthly grant to this organization and our other amazing grantees this November.

Immigrants make up the fabric of communities across the country. They are our neighbors, family members, friends, and coworkers. Immigrants are essential to our nation’s strength and future. And the issues that matter most to immigrants are much the same as the broader public: having access to a doctor to care for a child or other family member, being able to live in safe communities, work in good jobs, and pursue an education, and having the freedom to live free from fear.

But every two years, as Election Day approaches, right-wing politicians and MAGA media personalities compete to see who can conjure the most extreme rhetoric to exploit their base’s fear of immigrants. In their telling, this extreme xenophobia is good politics. However, poll after poll shows that American voters reject right-wing anti-immigrant extremism. Instead, these polls show how an overwhelming number of voters support politicians and policies that do what’s necessary to build a just, fair, and humane immigration system. The NILC Immigrant Justice Fund (or IJF, the sister organization of the National Immigration Law Center) is working to translate this popular support into concrete political power. To accomplish this goal, we are building a political program that will help candidates become strong advocates, messengers, and policymakers on issues that affect immigrant communities through robust research and supporter engagement. This work builds on the integral role the IJF has played since 2013 to:

  • advance a broad and humane overhaul of the nation’s immigration systems,
  • amplify the need to reform the nation’s immigration enforcement policies so they protect civil and human rights,
  • promote the importance of expanding aspiring citizens’ access to the programs and services they need to live healthy lives, and
  • advocate for policies that address the needs of immigrant youth.

At IJF, we are focusing on electing as many pro-immigrant leaders as possible by educating political candidates, their campaign staff, and other stakeholders on the issues that matter most to immigrant communities. Our hope is that these pro-immigrant policies will make it into campaign platforms and that more elected officials will become champions of immigrants’ rights if elected or re-elected.

We are working hard to demonstrate to candidates and policymakers that embracing pro-immigrant policies is also good politics. Just a few days ago, we published a five-state polling project in the most hotly-contested Senate battlegrounds showing that an overwhelming number of voters — including Independents and swing voters — overwhelming support Congress taking action to protect immigrant youth, maintain the legal right to asylum, and create a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.Earlier this year, just before the President’s first State of the Union address, we showed the Biden administration through our polling that the public broadly supports pro-immigrant policies. We also polled likely midterm voters in key swing Senate races ahead of the 2022 elections to demonstrate to candidates and elected officials that embracing a pro-immigrant platform will help them win on November 8, and that they should deliver on defending and providing relief for our communities. Topline results from our poll include the following:

  •  74% of voters said they would more likely support a candidate who favors providing a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers, including 92% of Democrats.
  • 73% support a pathway to citizenship if certain requirements are met, including background checks, for undocumented immigrants.
  • 71% believe that refugees should be able to legally request asylum — this includes 88% of Democrats, 71% of Independents/unaffiliated voters, and 54% of Republicans.
  • When asked about the egregious migrant bussing conducted by extremists Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, by a 29-point margin, voters viewed this as “mainly a stunt by the governors (57%)” rather than a genuine effort to improve the asylum system (28%).

In the final days before the 2022 midterms, IJF used this data to encourage candidates to embrace our popular, pro-immigrant agenda. We recognize that the political atmosphere can make these conversations more challenging. Too often, we see even supportive policymakers shrink away from embracing pro-immigrant policies in favor of hesitance, silence, or even deference to conservative stances – particularly around border issues. We are working hard to confront and change this reality, and we have made real progress. But it’s clear there is more work to be done to convince policymakers to champion and proactively embrace these positions, especially during a heated mid-term election cycle.

Only two years ago, a historic multiracial, multigenerational coalition of voters elected Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress in part because they championed building a just and humane immigration system. At IJF, we’re fighting to make progress for immigrant communities by pushing our country’s leaders to become more fearless champions of justice for all. Together, with your support, we can push forward the changes and solutions our communities and loved ones desperately need.