The Big Money Behind the Push for an Immigration Overhaul
Resource type: News
The New York Times | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]
By Julia Preston
Immigrants’ rights advocates, like those at a Washington rally, have mobilized again after President Obama’s vow of action. Credit Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
When President Obama announces major changes to the nation’s immigration enforcement system as early as next week, his decision will partly be a result of a yearslong campaign of pressure by immigrant rights groups, which have grown from a cluster of lobbying organizations into a national force.
A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation’s wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.
The philanthropies helped the groups rebound after setbacks and financed the infrastructure of a network in constant motion, with marches, rallies, vigils, fasts, bus tours and voter drives. The donors maintained their support as the immigration issue became fiercely partisan on Capitol Hill and the activists intensified their protests, engaging in civil disobedience and brash confrontations with lawmakers and the police.