Research Tool Kit: Immigration bills, lobbying, issue ads and more


Today, the U.S. Senate will consider the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill and to mark the occasion, we put together a handy research guide on everything we have on immigration policy.


Follow the bill on Scout, and get updates on all immigration bills around the U.S., congressional speeches and more.

Check out an interactive timeline that covers 125 years of immigration policy and legislation in the United States.

Q: Who said “immigration reform” the most in Congress?

A: Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) … even though he left office in 2009.


immigrationlobbySince January, 61 people filed new registration forms, according to Sunlight’s Lobbying Tracker, with companies seeking more high-skilled foreign workers, led by the tech sector, driving the April and May uptick. This year already surpasses the 54 registrations from all of 2011 and 42 new reports from 2012 that reported immigration as an issue.

Interactive visualization: “Six Hotspots of Immigration Lobbying Issues.”

By the Numbers … 2008 to 2012

  • During this time, 6,712 quarterly lobbying reports filed by 678 lobbying organizations in 170 sectors mentioned 987 unique bills associated with more than $1.5 billion in lobbying spending.
  • In 2012, 359 clients disclosed lobbying on immigration–up from 317 the previous year.

Top 5 Most Active Issues and their Top Sectors … by bill mentions in lobbying disclosures (2008-2012)

1. Agricultural Jobs — 510 Top sector: Milk & dairy producers — 132

2. Dream Act — 504 Top sector: Schools & colleges — 173

3. Science & Tech workers — 372 Top sector: Computer software — 49

4. General employer responsibility — 359 Top sector: Chambers of commerce — 68

5. Seasonal businesses — 320 Top sector: Florists & Nursery Services — 63

Issue Ads

Last week, we reported that Federation for Americans for Immigration Reform (a.k.a FAIR) has spent at least $89,250 on TV buys in various markets this year, according to Political Ad Sleuth records. FAIR, which supports reduced immigration, began airing TV ads in early June in a number of states that are home to potential swing votes on the bill. View all the ad buys here. UPDATE: More on FAIR’s ad buys this month.

And in May, NumbersUSA ran TV issue ads in 18 states opposing the immigration reform bill. View ad files on Political Ad Sleuth.

To see all our resources on the immigration issue, continue here on the blog or at the Sunlight Reporting Group.