National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Employment & Public Benefits


Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants: An Essential Tool in Fighting Poverty

(PDF, Jonathan Blazer & Josh Bernstein, CLEARINGHOUSE REVIEW, Nov.-Dec. 2008).  Immigration reform that both broadly legalizes undocumented immigrants currently here and legalizes future immigration flows would (1) improve the economic well-being of legalized immigrants and their families, who are disproportionately low-income; (2) have a positive economic impact on other low-income individuals and on economic recovery and growth; and (3) create political space for broader antipoverty legislation.

Immigrant Worker Issues in Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Pulling at a Thread: Anti-Immigrant Proposals Threaten Social Security Traditions. 

By enacting the Ensign amendment, Congress set a dangerous precedent. If Congress is willing to start pulling at the thread of the contributory principle underlying the Social Security entitlement program, there is no telling where it will stop and who else it will harm. (1/08; posted 2/19/08)

Confiscating Immigrants' Contributions to Social Security.

Proposals requiring legalized workers to forfeit Social Security credit for their prior work and tax contributions would impoverish future citizens, burden state and local governments, frustrate efforts to correct Social Security records, and undermine immigration reform.  (5/10/07)

Proposal to Strip Workers of Social Security Earnings Based on Prior Employment Status: Bad for the System and an Affront to Our Values (2/28/07)