Lobbyist Alleges Cato Institute 'Mercenaries' Are Paid to Push Pro-Immigration Studies

Pro-immigration research papers published by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, are not independent, but designed to meet the needs of lobbying clients, according to allegations in a Telegram message obtained by Chronicles.

Aman Kapoor, president of the advocacy group Immigration Voice (IV), alleged that Cato Research fellow David Bier was paid by IV to write pro-immigration papers, and that Bier is “like mercenaries (sic), working to push the agenda of the highest bidder.”

Kapoor’s organization is primarily concerned with removing the 7 percent country cap quota for employment-based green cards, which would mainly benefit Indian nationals on H-1B visas, who immigrate to America in large numbers to work for technology firms such as Microsoft and Google. But now, according to Kapoor’s Telegram message, the focus of Bier and Cato has shifted away from IV’s work because it is getting more money from Facebook and, a pro-immigration lobbying group, to push other immigration issues, such as amnesty for DACA beneficiaries. Facebook has increased its lobbying efforts recently, pouring money into immigration reform generally and DACA specifically.

“A lot of people don’t know that IV gave good (sic) amount of money to CATO and David Bier to write those papers that he flaunts everywhere,” wrote Kapoor in a private Telegram channel, “and our people think that David is writing about about (sic) backlog out of his goodwill.” Here Kapoor is referencing Bier’s work on the backlog of employment-based green cards that mostly affects Indians with H-1B visas. “We have (sic) him money when no one knew him and he was fresh out of Congress as a staffer, and no one was willing to support him,” Kapoor added.

Kapoor’s allegations about Bier and Cato appear to be supported by a correlation between research papers produced by Bier that Kapoor and IV then cite as independent scholarship supporting their position. When in fact, according to Kapoor, IV has paid Bier and Cato to write the papers ahead of time. If Kapoor’s allegations are true, they reveal an incestuous relationship between Washington, D.C., think tanks and lobbying firms that create an echo chamber of policy recommendations.

Calls and emails to Bier, Cato, Kapoor, and IV were not returned for immediate comment.

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