Founded in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is the leading advocacy organization in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their loved ones. NILC’s mission is grounded in the belief that everyone in the U.Sshould have equal access to justice, resources, and opportunities that enable them to achieve their full human potential. NILC is committed to advancing its mission—which intersects race, immigration status, and class—through a racial, economic, and gender justice and equity orientation. NILC seeks to achieve just laws and policies that address systemic inequities, create narrative and culture change for an inclusive and equitable society, and build a healthier and more powerful movement.
We use a core set of integrated strategies to advance our mission:
NILC engages in lawsuits that defend the fundamental and constitutional rights of all Americans, including low-income immigrants and their families, usually in coordination with other local and national civil rights organizations. Our legal victories have secured vital due process rights for detained Salvadorans, challenged government regulations that would have resulted in millions of workers losing their jobs, and stopped unconstitutional state attempts to regulate immigration law that would have led to racial profiling.
Policy Analysis & Advocacy
As experts in the complex interplay between immigration law and public and private economic support programs, access to education, workers’ rights, and other issues affecting low-income immigrant communities, NILC educates decision-makers on the impact their policy goals may have on this overlooked population. NILC fact sheets and briefing papers have long been used by policymakers interested in ensuring the future prosperity of their constituents. And our analyses have also helped inform innovative policy solutions to address immigrants’ access to health care, workers’ rights, immigration enforcement reforms, and legal status for immigrant youth.
NILC plays an increasingly important role in shaping effective messaging and communications strategies on immigration issues. We have led groundbreaking research on messages to promote bold advocacy goals and give advocates, policymakers, and other key spokespeople the tools they need to speak persuasively about the important and positive role that low-income immigrants play in our society. Our communications efforts are deliberately integrated with our efforts to advance legal and policy victories, while also focused on shaping the public narrative on immigration issues for longer-lasting social change.
We also conduct trainings, publish educational materials, and provide legal counsel and strategic advice to support and strengthen other groups’ advocacy work.