As labor migration policies increasingly operate at the crossroads of neoliberal political economies, nativist nationalisms and assertive human rights activism, serious debates have emerged about whose logic is setting the discourse on migration issues, in what direction and with what justifications. Yet, while the actors driving the public discourse have been a central concern for scholars interested in the institutional transformation of migration politics, research on the migration discourse and claims-making has largely overlooked them. Drawing on an original data set of 1,300 collective claims on labor migration reported in Israeli print media during 2000–2012, we investigate two aspects of claims-making: the public claims mobilised by state and non-state actors, and the discursive opportunity structure in which they evolve. Our analysis of the claims mobilised by actors situated in different institutional positions and their political framings regarding the control and integration of legal and undocumented labor migrants seeks to fill the gap in the migration discourse literature. We also contribute to recent claims-making and political mobilisation analyses by bringing the actor-driven logic to bear on major debates regarding the institutional politics of migration and examining them empirically in relation to each other.