As controversy swirls, Heritage report author resigns
May 10th, 2013
04:13 PM ET
2 years ago

As controversy swirls, Heritage report author resigns

(CNN) - An author of a highly critical report on pending immigration legislation has resigned his post at the conservative Heritage Foundation after his previous writings, including a dissertation citing lower IQ among immigrants, drew widespread anger.

"Jason Richwine let us know he's decided to resign from his position," a spokesman for the Heritage Foundation said Friday. "He's no longer employed by Heritage. It is our long-standing policy not to discuss internal personnel matters."

Richwine, who was described on Heritage's website as a quantitative analyst, penned a 2009 dissertation at Harvard titled "IQ and Immigration Policy" that asserted in its summary 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."

His paper argued for a policy that sought out immigrants with higher IQs, which he claimed would ameliorate problems currently affecting immigrant populations like "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."

The linking of immigrants with lower IQs drew outcry, and was met with a swift response from the Heritage Foundation, which said Richwine had no role in devising the methodology of the group's own immigration report, released this week.

"The Harvard paper is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation," wrote Mike Gonzalez, vice president for communications at Heritage, on Wednesday. "Its 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."

Richwine's dissertation was crafted while he "was a student at Harvard, supervised and approved by a committee of respected scholars," Gonzalez wrote.

The Heritage report released Monday, called "The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer," has two authors listed: Richwine and Robert Rector, a senior research fellow in domestic policy at Heritage.

The report determined that creating a legal pathway for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country would cost taxpayers a minimum $6.3 trillion over the lifetime of those immigrants. It also argues the average undocumented immigrant is 34-years-old, has a 10th grade education, and receives $14,387 per household in government benefits in excess of taxes paid.

Those conclusions were questioned by advocates for the new immigration reform bill, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a key author of the Senate "Gang of Eight" measure.

"I don't believe their report is really legitimate. I have a lot of respect for Heritage, but I don't believe their report is a legitimate one," the Florida Republican told CNN en Español's Juan Carlos Lopez, arguing that improving America's system of immigration would actually help bolster the economy.

"If they are legalized, they will be able to work and pay taxes, they'll be able to open businesses and in due time improve their financial situation and contribute to the country's wellbeing and not hurt the country," Rubio said. "So that's why I strongly disagree with that report."


Filed under: Heritage Foundation • Immigration
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Geez, and all the posters commenting on him before were applauding him for telling the truth, at least, the "truth" they wanted to hear. I guess even Jim DeMint can handle only so much bad press. Of course, the researcher was from Harvard, so he must be a closet leftie. Now, if he had been a Yale man, they would have hung onto him like a life preserver.

    May 10, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The gop and their stooge foundation have no credibility, just like the rest of the gop moron party with the teaparty stooge and bum demented. Headline. Gop loses house and senate in 2014 mid terms, gop losers,only the brain dead would vote for them.

    May 10, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. GonzoinHouston

    He may be gone, but the pubbers will be quoting his report as if it were Gospel for years to come.

    May 10, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    He was just speaking his hateful, racist mind. I thought that was the whole foundation of the Heritage Foundation. Isn't that why Demint is there now?

    May 10, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Come on CNN...why did you cherry pick the quotes from the dissertation to avoid the fact that he literally said it was genetic that Hispanics have lower IQs? You soften what was clearly a racist assertion on his behalf?

    This Richwine jackhole also contributed to a rabidly nationalist, borderline white supremacist organization's website. Heritage knew all of this. Their claims that his views aren't part of their study are complete BS. The reality is, this guy's dissertation and his other crap were considered his conservative bona fides and qualfications for Heritage hiring him in the first place. And the report CLEARLY incorporates Richwine's racist assertions/beliefs, because one of the core assumptions the report makes is that Hispanic immigrants will not be capable of reaching sufficient education levels to contribute in a beneficial manner to the economy. It's how they justified not using the conservative gold-standard of "dynamic scoring" and thereby ignored any positive contribution Hispanic immigrants would make to the economy. In fact, professional consensus among most economists is that immigrant...even illegal immigrants here right now...contribute billions and billions of dollars into the economy.

    Bottom line: This is just another example of the conservatives trying desperately to find new ways to mask their racism.

    May 10, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. rs

    Stay classy, tightie Whities. The "Heritage" Foundation is sinking to the level of the Klan.

    May 10, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Someone needs to ask what the hell is wrong over at Harvard and that department that they would allow a dissertation like that to actually pass and result in a PhD.

    May 10, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Shorter Richwine and Heritage: "What gave us away? Was it the hoods?"

    May 10, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Bill

    Any organization that has Jim DeMint at the helm is a bigoted, racist organization. Period.

    May 10, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    The Heritage Foundation? You mean the KKK version 2013.

    May 10, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Len

    Please vote in 2014. Let us not repeat
    2010. Midterm elections are important. Encourage those who voted in 2012 to vote in 2014. Vote the GOP out of office. VOTE.

    May 10, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. John the Historian

    The Heritage Foundation gave us Romneycare. The Heritage Foundation is part of the Neocon think. Their day is numbered. They want war with Iran, a country of 80 million people. Think of how Iraq II went with 29 million people. Republicans need to go the way of their Nazi brethern. Their racism is doomed to hell. Can't wait for the Santorum or Palin ticket in 2016.

    May 10, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Any study that already has its conclusion made and works backwards to find a thesis is clearly something to be avoided. Richwine was clearly a researcher who broke the number one rule of research: to let the data take you a conclusion to prove or disprove your thesis, and to reach a conclusion based upon that data. Do researchers on the Left have bias? Absolutly, they do: anyone who recalls that clown Ward Churchill a few years ago will remember his wacko ideas. The sad thing is that Heritage hired him knowing full well what his biases were and they still allowed him in: makes you wonder what passes for academic credentials on the political fringes these days.

    May 10, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Data Driven

    I concur, Sniffit: Heritage is, or was and now officially isn't, totally A-OK with Richwine's racist assertions. If they're not NOW, it's because the press actually took an interest in one of the Heritage fellows' reactionary, turgid papers.

    May 10, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. bannister

    I hear a lot of name calling and partisan bickering on this board – but very little discussion of the issue.

    I think the researcher is absolutely right – the incoming group of 3rd world immigrants DO have lower IQs than the native white population. They ARE dropping out of school at a stunning rate of 50% They ARE more involved in gangs, they DO have more out-of-wedlock births and they DO receive more social benefits (proportionally, on average) than the native white population.

    Which leads us to the question: HOW does the amnesty of millions of illegal immigrants benefit America? Will it make our streets safer? Will it make our roads less crowded? What exactly IS the benefit to America by allowing this to happen?

    May 10, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. HockeyGuy

    The fact is people who are here illegally do not contribute more then they take .. if they did pay more in taxes or generate jobs or any number of things that Legal immigrants do then there would be absolutely no controversy over their living here.

    People would say hey your from Mexico or Iran or China or France and you came here illegally well crap lets sign you up to be a citizen right away because you are great people and you help us so much.

    But that is not true.. many are criminals and others simply cost us in money... Lots and lots of money.

    Just the cost of education is $15000 a year per kid..
    And Rubio thinks that paying a $500 fine makes up for everything.. well it does not..
    THEY ARE A BURDEN ON OUR COUNTRY
    Maybe this report had errors maybe it didn't but the facts are facts We pay TONS of money for 20 million people ... and that is more then the population of many states... they cost us big and legalizing them means one thing.. they can get more welfare..

    Even Obama's own Aunt and Uncle are illegal Aliens and they took foodstamps and public housing .. that money should have gone to an American family.. Obama's Family needs to be deported because Kenya is not a place where there are people fleeing political hardships... they do not deserve special consideration after stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in our taxes.

    May 10, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "If they're not NOW, it's because the press actually took an interest in one of the Heritage fellows' reactionary, turgid papers."

    Somehow, it never seems to work out well for the GOP/Teatrolls when people bother to look behind the curtain.

    Another thing to wonder about: why does Harvard allow similar nationalist/bigot jackholes to be in the department that gave this Richwine turd? I'm blanking on the guy's name, but he's a full blown professor over there and Richwine's work was no doubt done with his involvement and input. It's junk and totally perplexes me that Harvard lets it go unanswered.

    May 10, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |