Dale Wilcox

Executive Director and General Counsel of IRLI

Wilcox spearheads IRLI’s aggressive legal strategy targeting cities and locales that have passed immigrant rights legislation. Like many IRLI lawyers, Wilcox first worked for FAIR before joining its legal arm. Wilcox has called for DACA recipients to “self-deport,” saying, “DACA-pushers missed their mark because the best thing for these ‘kids’ isn’t to stay here and push down blue-collar wages, but to return to Latin America and reform it. Ending DACA will help them deal with what’s really the root of the problem: corruption south of the border.” IRLI has been a driving force behind the legal attacks on undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age.

  • Dale L. Wilcox is the executive director and general counsel of IRLI, the former state and local director for FAIR, and former counsel to Judicial Watch.
  • Wilcox has worked with a number of IRLI staffers, both current and those who left to join the Trump Administration, including Kris Kobach, John Miano, Mike Hethmon and Ian Smith. 

Anti-immigrant Views 

  • Wilcox has advocated for harsh attrition through enforcement measures, and as executive director of IRLI has led the organization’s work to make life more difficult for immigrants throughout the United States. In a 2016 press release announcing IRLI’s filing of a motion to intervene and dismiss a lawsuit filed against an Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR)  driven ballot measure in 2014 which overturned an Oregon law to expand drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, Wilcox stated “Illegal aliens do not have a right to driving privileges, nor do they have a right to travel freely in the U.S. as federal law makes their very presence in the U.S. unlawful.”
  • In a press release announcing IRLI’s decision to sue the Department of State for agency records regarding the names of countries that have allegedly refused to accept the return of their nationals, Wilcox, who often uses hateful rhetoric to describe immigrants derided these nations as “deadbeat nations.” All of the countries the group discussed in the release are in Asia and Africa.
  • In June 2018, Wilcox defended the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy in a piece for Breitbart. Wilcox called the international outrage and condemnation of the U.S.’s family separation policy a distraction, and described the thousands of children torn from their parents as a “relatively few children.” 
  • In a 2019 press release announcing IRLI’s submission of a friend-of-the-court brief in support of an Erie County, New York clerk who filed a lawsuit against Gov. Cuomo to defeat the Green Light New York law which grants driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in the state, Wilcox, stated, “not only does New York’s Green Light Law turn public officials into criminals, but it also was expressly designed to help illegal aliens take jobs from Americans in New York State.”  

Anti-immigrant Activity

  • His group has helped craft anti-immigrant legislation all over the country, including Arizona’s infamous “self-deportation” measure SB 1070, Alabama’s HB 56 and Georgia’s HB 87
  • Wilcox has led IRLI’s work in defense of the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration policies as they face constitutional legal challenges. The group has filed friend of the court briefs in support of President Trump’s policies including the Muslim Ban, dismantling of asylum law, declaring a national emergency to fund a wall along the Southern border, the 2020 Census citizenship question and ending DACA.
  • On August 29, 2019, the IRLI filed two legal briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Trump Administration on DACA litigation. One of the briefs filed on behalf of SaveJobs USA and the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, challenged work authorization for DACA recipients, while the other one argued that DACA was unlawful.
  • Additionally, IRLI has continued its work to dismantle birthright citizenship, employment based immigration and supported the Georgia higher education system’s decision to deny DACA recipients access to certain universities in the state.
  • The group is one of the primary architects behind the legal attacks on undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age. Following the Supreme Court’s failure to reach a majority decision in the U.S. v. Texas case, IRLI issued a press release lauding the outcome, and confirming their behind the scenes work to attack these immigrants: “IRLI advised the Texas Attorney-General’s office on key facets of the case and filed a total of six friend-of-the-court briefs throughout the case’s proceedings.” Wilcox said the group was “honored to have had the opportunity to contribute toward that victory.”
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