About the IIR

The Institute for Immigration Research (IIR) is a multidisciplinary research institute at George Mason University.

The IIR’s mission is to generate and amplify relevant research on immigrants and immigration to the United States through engaging with and educating the public, policymakers and the next generation of migration researchers. 

The IIR contributes to a society where attitudes, policies, and rhetoric about immigrants and immigration are based on data, reason, and global contexts.

The IIR focuses its efforts on three areas, contributions and challenges, inclusion and investment, policies and pathways, as well as broader bridging initiatives cutting across these focus areas. Our faculty affiliates, graduate students, and partners are at the forefront of immigration research. 

The IIR is a joint venture between George Mason University and The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Massachusetts. The IIR was founded in 2012 through the generous donation from The Immigrant Learning Center (ILC) and Ms. Diane Portnoy, ILC founder, educator and philanthropist from Malden, Massachusetts.

The IIR is located on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, outside the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Its strategic location allows the IIR to draw on unparalleled academic, government, and private resources to advance its mission in research, education, and professional opportunities for current and future scholars of immigration studies. Through conferences, workshops, lectures, and other events, the IIR is able to engage in community outreach with one of the most diverse populations in the United States.

IIR Advisory Board

The IIR benefits from the leadership of an Advisory Board of dedicated individuals from academia, education, law, and immigration policy. The current IIR Board Membership is listed below.

  • Ann Ardis, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George Mason University (Co-chair)
  • Frank Bailey, Retired federal bankruptcy judge for the U.S. bankruptcy court, District of Massachusetts
  • Aldo Bello, Executive VP and Chief Creative Officer, Mind & Media, Inc.
  • Hudaidah Bhimdi, Attorney, Bhimdi Global Immigration PLLC
  • Jack Censer, Former Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George Mason University
  • Dan Houser, Professor of Economics, George Mason University
  • Ariana Monterroza, Regional Marketing Specialist, Truist
  • Diane Portnoy, Founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center (Co-chair)
  • Vince Rivers, Executive Director of The Immigrant Learning Center  
  • Jim Witte, Director, Institute for Immigration Research

IIR Faculty Affiliates

The IIR's faculty affiliates work with IIR staff and graduate students in several ways: 1) they serve as moderators and speakers for IIR events; 2) they provide professional development to IIR graduate students by presenting at staff meetings and other special events; 3) they help to disseminate information about IIR publications and events to their students and networks and through social media; 4) they invite IIR staff to guest lecture in their classes; 5) they co-author papers with IIR staff; 6) they write short immigration-related papers for the IIR (these are posted on our website); and 7) they advertise their affiliation with the IIR when they speak publicly.

Read more about

our current IIR Faculty Affiliates

and their publications.