Non-profit

National Immigration Forum (NIF)

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

13-1776711

DUNS Number:

15-288-5112

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $5,454,758
Expenses: $4,968,719
Assets: $5,715,391

Formation:

1982

Type:

Illegal Immigration Advocacy Group

Founders:

Rick Swartz

Phyllis Eisen

Executive Director:

Ali Noorani

The National Immigration Forum (NIF) was established in 1982 to advocate for immigrants in the United States. The organization advocates for granting legal status to most illegal immigrants already in the United States and staunchly opposes border enforcement policies. The organization also promotes naturalization and learning English.

Background

Rick Swartz, a lawyer that directed an immigrants’ rights project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, co-founded the National Immigration Forum in 1982. [1] He is now president of the Washington-based Strategic Solutions. [2]

Phyllis Eisen initially served as vice president and co-founder of NIF. She is now president of the Eisen Group, a consulting firm. [3]

The NIF website states four goals for the organization: Immigration reform to meet the needs of the workforce; boosting integration and citizenship; “fiscally responsible and humane” policies for borders and interior enforcement; and promoting immigration as only a federal responsibility. [4]

Leadership

The board of directors includes people from the business community, labor unions, religious organizations, and nonprofits. [5]

Eddie Aldrete, the chairman of the board, is part of the International Bank of Commerce. Rebecca Tallent of Dropbox is the vice chair. Other board members include the former Ambassador of Mexico to the United States in the administration of Felipe Calderon, Uber Technologies’ director of federal affairs, a Service Employees International Union executive vice president, and the president of the American Federation of Teachers’ Texas affiliate. [6]

The executive director and face of the organization is Ali Noorani, who regularly makes TV appearances and writes op-eds. According to NIF’s 2015 tax records, Noorani earned $136,151. The deputy director, Mark Falzone, earned $115,418. [7]

Other top officials in the organization are Don Lyster, the chief of staff; Dawn Byrne, director of finance and operations; Jacinta Ma, director of policy and advocacy; and Cathleen Farrell, director of communications. [8]

Funding

In February 2019, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced a $100,000 grant to the organization to help immigrants going through the process of becoming citizens. The taxpayer dollars will specifically go to the NIF’s New American Workforce project, which is supposed to help with the cost of naturalization filing fees, English language classes and immigration attorneys. The mayor’s office asserted, “this grant represents the largest such government fund in the nation.” [9]

The Open Society Foundations, the private philanthropic entities of liberal billionaire George Soros, are reportedly the group’s largest contributor. [10] Noorani said in 2013 that Soros had funded about 10 percent of the NIF’s budget, but added as the organization began to engage with both Republicans and Democrats, support from Soros had declined. [11]

Other notable supporters of NIF include the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the corporate foundation of Walmart, the Knight Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, all of which have given six-to-seven-figure contributions to NIF in recent years. [12]

In the summer of 2016, a life-sized nude statue of then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump was auctioned off at a cost estimated between $10,000 and $20,000 to benefit the NIF. The name of the statue was “The Emperor Has No Balls.” [13]

Political Involvement

Noorani wrote an open letter to all Republican 2012 presidential primary candidates, talking about an NIF report that stated how, “The United States could save as much as $2.6 billion per year by implementing common-sense enforcement reforms that focus on real threats to the nation.” Citing cost concerns, the report said the Department of Homeland Security should only detain or deport illegal immigrants who had committed violent crimes. [14]

In late 2012, the NIF established the “Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform” network. The initiative aimed for a network of conservative Christian leaders, law enforcement and business to push Republicans in Congress to vote for granting legal status to illegal immigrants. [15] The 2013 legislation failed.

During the first year of President Barack Obama’s second term, Katherine Vargas left her job as an NIF spokeswoman to be the Director of Hispanic Media for the Obama White House. [16]

After the 2016 election, Noorani asserted: “The Donald Trump version of immigration reform as far as we have seen is mass deportation and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. … I think [Senate Minority Leader Charles] Schumer, Democrats, and a number of Republicans will have the opportunity to stand in the way of what could be some pretty harmful legislative proposals. But a lot of what Trump wants to do he can do without legislation.” [17]

Policy Agenda

The organization strongly opposes additional construction of a wall along the southern border, and Trump’s emergency declaration in February 2019 to get funding for a barrier.

Noorani dismissed the wall as a “symbol.” [18]

The organization, in 2017, outlined its “Immigration 2020” plan to: “Ensure America can thrive by advocating for policy change that helps new Americans gain the opportunities, skills and status they need to realize their full potential.” [19]

The five key points if Immigration 2020 are: [20]

  • For Congress and the administration to “build a 21st-century immigration system that advances the social and economic interests of all Americans.”
  • To ensure everyone in the labor force has “access to the appropriate knowledge and skills.”
  • To establish that learning English is important to increase productivity.
  • To promote naturalization.
  • To seek public-private partnerships to help “unleash this unrealized capital of new Americans.”

References

  1. Heilemann, John. “Do You Know the Way to Ban Jose?” Wired. June 04, 2017. Accessed March 04, 2019. https://www.wired.com/1996/08/netizen-11/.
  2. Rick Swartz. LinkedIn. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rick-swartz-748a6816/
  3. Phyllis Eisen. Board Vice Chair. About Us. National Skills Coalition. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/about/board/phyllis-eisen
  4. About. National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/landing_page/about/
  5. Board of Directors. National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/article/board-of-directors/
  6. Board of Directors. National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/article/board-of-directors/
  7. 990 Form. National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019.
  8. Staff. National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/article/staff/.
  9. “Bowser Administration Announces DC’s First-Ever Partnership to Assist Residents with Citizenship Process.” Press Release. District of Columbia Mayor’s Office.
  10. Hagelin, Rebecca. “Soros vs. America — Follow the Money: Part 2.” The Washington Times. February 11, 2018. Accessed March 3 2019. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/11/george-soros-funded-campaigns-divide-america/.
  11. Hallowell, Billy. “Is Billionaire Atheist George Soros Secretly Paying for Evangelicals’ Pro-Immigration Reform Efforts?” TheBlaze. June 24, 2013. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://www.theblaze.com/news/2013/06/24/is-george-soros-secretly-funding-evangelicals-pro-immigration-reform-efforts
  12. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc. from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted March 4, 2019.
  13. Scanlon, Kate. “Naked Trump Statue to be Auctioned to Support Immigration Advocacy Group.” TheBlaze. August 31, 2016. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://www.theblaze.com/news/2016/08/31/naked-trump-statue-to-be-auctioned-to-support-immigrant-advocacy-group
  14. Noorani, Ali. “An Open Letter to GOP Hopefuls on Border Security.” The Daily Caller. November 22, 2011. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://dailycaller.com/2011/11/22/open-letter-to-gop-hopefuls-on-border-security/
  15. Bibles, Badges and Business: Natural Allies in Immigration Reform. National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/landing_page/bibles-badges-business/
  16. Llorente, Elizabeth. “Immigration Advocate to be Named White House Director of Hispanic Media.” Fox News. April 26, 2013. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/immigration-advocate-to-be-named-white-house-director-of-hispanic-media.
  17. Siegel, Josh. “What Chuck Schumer Would Do as Top Senate Democrat.” The Daily Signal. November 10, 2016. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://www.dailysignal.com/2016/11/10/what-chuck-schumer-would-do-as-top-senate-democrat/.
  18. “Trump’s Wall a Symbol, Not a Solution.” Press Release. National Immigration Forum. February 15, 2019. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/article/trumps-wall-a-symbol-not-a-solution/
  19. “Immigration 2020.” National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/landing_page/immigration-2020/
  20. “Immigration 2020.” National Immigration Forum. Accessed March 2, 2019. https://immigrationforum.org/landing_page/immigration-2020/

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Cecilia Munoz
    Former Board Member

Coalition Memberships

  1. Alliance for Justice (AFJ)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1993

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $5,454,758 $4,968,719 $5,715,391 $526,863 N $4,756,459 $787,000 $10,532 $329,419
    2015 Dec Form 990 $6,172,283 $4,073,241 $5,379,913 $677,424 N $5,373,277 $835,000 $4,298 $392,165 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $3,542,935 $4,126,875 $3,036,657 $433,210 N $3,271,315 $329,000 $4,481 $457,694 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $6,091,180 $4,467,547 $3,985,520 $798,133 N $5,774,064 $127,229 $2,374 $513,222 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,894,077 $2,574,552 $2,154,982 $591,228 N $1,706,876 $90,875 $3,494 $304,284 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,014,793 $2,260,017 $2,799,921 $555,692 N $1,815,080 $54,000 $4,417 $290,763 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Immigration Forum (NIF)

    50 F ST NW STE 300
    WASHINGTON, DC 20001-1552