The Washington Post reports that Jason Richwine, the co-author of a controversial immigration study released this week by the Heritage Foundation, and the author of a doctoral thesis at Harvard “arguing that the United States should focus its immigration efforts on those with high IQs, and [who] had written for a Web site that describes itself as ‘nationalist,’” has told Post Politics that he has resigned his position with the organization.
The Post: “’Yes, that’s right,’ Richwine wrote in a brief e-mail. Heritage confirmed that he resigned.”
The Heritage Foundation is “a public policy think tank that promotes the principles that made America great: free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”
Apparently one of those principles that made America great is opposing, preferably killing, immigration reform as The Heritage Foundation actually helped to do six years ago, in part through two reports written by senior research fellow Robert Rector — “one predicting a flood of 100 million new legal immigrants over the next 20 years, the other again finding that reform would swell the welfare ranks,” according to the Washington Post. These were reports referenced to by U.S. Senators during debates.
A more recent study by Robert Rector and Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation claims that “the immigration reform bill being weighed in the U.S. Senate will cost the government $5.3 trillion. Or, more precisely, that undocumented immigrants under current law will cost the government $1 trillion, and legalizing those immigrants will increase that to $6.3 trillion.”
The Washington Post does an extensive analysis of Rector and Richwine’s claims and concludes:
Rector and Richwine are certainly correct that making currently ineligible immigrants eligible for means-tested benefits and retirement entitlements has a real budgetary cost. But in the long run, we know that immigration is a net economic boon, and in particular for immigrants, which reduces their fiscal cost and increases our ability to pay for what benefits they do receive. And the best study we have on the fiscal effects of immigration reform, from the CBO, finds the impact to be minimal or positive.
Pay attention to that study. Pay attention to whatever score the CBO puts out of the Gang of 8 bill. But the Heritage numbers simply are not credible.
OK, so Rector and Richwine “make a lot of curious methodological choices that cumulatively throw the study into question.” We all make curious methodological choices in our lifetimes, but to suggest that:
The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market. Selecting high-IQ immigrants would ameliorate these problems in the U.S., while at the same time benefiting smart potential immigrants who lack educational access in their home countries.
That is exactly what Jason Richwine, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of the “immigration reform bill being weighed in the U.S. Senate will cost the government $5.3 trillion” study, wrote in the abstract of his doctoral dissertation, titled “IQ and Immigration Policy.”
The Washington Post adds:
Richwine’s dissertation asserts that there are deep-set differentials in intelligence between races. While it’s clear he thinks it is partly due to genetics — “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ” — he argues the most important thing is that the differences in group IQs are persistent, for whatever reason. He writes, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”
Now, as one of those “low-IQ Hispanic immigrants,” of course I don’t have the wherewithal to even begin to dispute such a claim from such an educated person, especially an analyst at the reputable Heritage Foundation.
Fortunately, many others with much better education, acumen and credentials than poor, ole, low-IQ-me are disputing and disassociating themselves from these “findings.” Even the Heritage Foundation, already reeling from the $6.3 trillion study may not be feeling all that comfortable with Richwine’s past findings — although it has not renounced the findings nor the author:
Michael Gonzalez, vice president of communications for Heritage Foundation, wrote in a blog post that the Harvard paper does not represent Heritage’s position. “It’s [sic] findings do not reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, as race and ethnicity are not part of Heritage immigration policy recommendations,” Gonzalez wrote, adding that Richwine provided quantitative support to the lead author Robert Rector, according to politico.com.
Some great “quantitative support.”
Perhaps The Heritage Foundation should check the credentials and the work of the “analysts” it hires as aggressively as it promotes free enterprise, limited government, etc. and as aggressively as it opposes immigration reform.
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