Institute for Immigration Research

Institute for Immigration Research

Us flag with faces

To what extent, and in what ways, are immigrants, especially immigrant entrepreneurs, producing positive economic benefits for the U.S. economy?  

With all of the heated rhetoric about immigration these days, academically-rigorous research results are needed to cool the discussion with objective information. The Institute for Immigration Research fills that void.

Immigration is not just Hispanic/Mexican immigration, but it’s often treated that way in academic research, policy discussions, and in public opinion. As a result, in all three arenas, the perspective on immigration emphasizes: immigrant integration, social service needs, and immigrants taking American jobs, and exploitation of immigrants in the workforce.


The mission of the institute is to refocus the immigration conversation among academics, policy-makers and the public, including the business community and media, by producing and disseminating unbiased and objective, interdisciplinary academic research related to immigrants and immigration to the United States.  

Research conducted by the IIR will examine the economic impact of all immigrant groups, with particular emphasis on the economic contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs with high level of education or skills. The IIR concentrates on economic questions while adding in a sociological perspective.  The Institute for Immigration Research is a joint venture between George Mason University and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Massachusetts.

 About the Donor

Diane PortnoyMs. Portnoy is founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) in Malden, MA, a not-for-profit organization providing free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in the greater Boston area.  As a joint venture with George Mason University, with the Institute for Immigration Research conducting research on the economic contributions of immigrants. Her creative impulse to open a free school where immigrants can learn English stems from her own immigrant background as the daughter of Polish Holocaust survivors. As a toddler, she and her parents immigrated into the U.S. through Ellis Island shortly after the end of WWII, where the family settled in Malden, Massachusetts. She observed the difficulty her parents and other immigrants in her community experienced learning English and adjusting to a new country, culture and language. She is an expert in adult education, as a Massachusetts certified teacher in adult basic education and in grades K-8. She received her BS in Elementary Education from Boston University and her MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Cornell University.

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