Author of critical immigration report previously wrote of lower IQ in immigrants
May 8th, 2013
07:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Author of critical immigration report previously wrote of lower IQ in immigrants

(CNN) – A report released by the conservative Heritage Foundation that was highly critical of proposed immigration legislation is coming under new scrutiny after it was discovered its co-author previously wrote a dissertation citing lower IQs among immigrants.

The Heritage Foundation immediately distanced itself from the 2009 paper written by Jason Richwine, who is described on Heritage’s website as a quantitative analyst.

He penned a 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. “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.

Former Sen. Jim DeMint, who left Congress last year to head the Heritage Foundation, said at a news conference that "no sensible person could read this study" and conclude that the bill would have a positive impact. Comparing the bill to "Obamacare," DeMint chided comprehensive legislation and called instead for a "piece by piece approach."

Those conclusions were questioned Tuesday by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, an author of the Senate “Gang of Eight” legislation on immigration reform.

"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."

Responding to his criticism, the Heritage Foundation wrote that “Senator Rubio’s parents came here in 1956, almost a decade before the introduction of the Great Society programs that laid the foundation of the modern welfare state. Over the following four and a half decades, our government has added layer upon layer of government involvement in our lives, creating a dependency that undermines self-respect and self-reliance.”

“We do not blame immigrants for being entrapped by that system; we blame the people who created that system,” Heritage continued in their statement. “We especially blame people who now seek to expand it. This is why Heritage has been leading the fight on the need to recreate upward mobility for low-income and middle-income Americans.”

Filed under: Heritage Foundation • Immigration
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Daniel Martin

    What can one say in response to this racist tripe. This kind of scurrulous remarks should be discredited by all deeply comitted Americans

    May 8, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. it must be considered

    So we cannot tell the truth anymore? We have to be bludgeoned by PC censorship into believing the massive invasion of uneducated hispanics isn't really happening and that they are really highly educated college professors that just love to pick lettuce and mow grass. And if you don't believe this well then you are just racist. Well the leftist dream world people, where reality means nothing if it contradicts the political agenda of the left.

    May 8, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. david saint

    doesnt shock me one bit this guy wrote something that stupid.

    May 8, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. rs

    The Heritage Foundation is the same crew that took down Immigration reform when Bush was in office. They are a pretty class-less hit group for the Right. This just gives the GOP cover to back out of their promise- like they ever were going to come up with reforms anyway, right? Doing nothing is just so much easier and they're used to it.

    May 8, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    That's how to get the Latino vote gop. Tell the latinos and Asian and woman their stupid , gop morons are to stupid to get in the white house ,even when they cheat and try to rig the elections for all to see!!!!

    May 8, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Data Driven

    And yet the 2009 paper was co-authored by a guy at Heritage, even if Richwine was still at Harvard. Look, the Heritage people undoubtedly believe everything in that paper: why bother distancing themselves from it? Have they disowned Murray's Bell Curve, too? Forgive my skepticism.

    May 8, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. HenryMiller

    "...previously wrote a dissertation citing lower IQs among immigrants."

    If that can be documented, what's wrong with acknowledging it? Being Politically Incorrect doesn't prove it's not true.

    May 8, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    The Heritage Foundation must not have received the RNC's memo about the Republican Party rebranding efforts to reach out to minorities. Looks like the Republican Party will hang up the "whites only" sign in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

    May 8, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Mr. Moderate

    LOL – They hire a white supremacist to do a study on immigration.

    May 8, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein

    This just shows that some people don't consider everyone as good as themselves. There are smart and dumb people in every group.

    May 8, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. Just a thought

    Wow...what a winning position from the party of geniuses known the Tea-a-toodles. It takes an amazing lack of intellect to take pride in being a member of a party so hateful against minorities. sigh....2014 and 2016 is going to be very interesting for these folks

    May 8, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  12. fernace

    And this man serves on the Heritage Foundation Board!? Outrageous! Not only is he insulting immigrants, but American's, as well! Since when is our "native" population white! It is actually "red," per the Indian tribes that resided here before the Europeans arrived! In the 21's century our native populous is decidedly a mix of many ethnicities! And why would the US outsource so many technical jobs to "immigrant" nations, if their workers are so unintelligent!? This is akin to politicians who believe Earth is 6000 years old, serving on the Science Committee! Opinion is Not fact & I expect research, fact finding & logical conclusions from a highly regarded think tank! His opinions has me questioning Richwine's intelligence & even HF itself, for keeping him on!!

    May 8, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. AK_Steve

    Basically, whenever I hear the word "conservative: I just translate it to – white, racist, bigot, elitist – then when I read reports like this I am just a little less surprised.

    May 8, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    The figures in Paragraph two do not work go figure 11m undocumented tound up to keep numbers simple $15,000 per household divide by say 4 and multiply by 41 ( = avge age 34 to lifetime 75 say) Me I cant get that to come to $6.3tr where is the deduction for what they pay in payroll taxes if working apparently most do jobs (and qed the assumption is all households can get poverty line government benefits support on top) American dont wanna do but do not pay payroll or other taxes other than sales taxes.
    Time for CNN ticker to blog the other report That Fareed Zacharia had on his recent program GPS.
    Then we have the much vaunted balance CNN claims for its political reporting.

    May 9, 2013 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  15. Cephus

    Its just make me laugh when people start talking about this crap aka IQ. My question is and will always be if its someting innate how do you measure it without biases? Junk science at best.

    May 9, 2013 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  16. grey

    The Barbara Jordon Commission favored reducing Immigration by one third, better enforcement and reducing chain immigration in favor of a more skills based immigration such as Canada has.

    But really isn't the main problem is people have memories. They recall the 1986 Immigration Reform Act where, in exchange for enforcement of the Immigration laws we would agree to grant amnesty to 2.7 million undocumented workers and the problem would be solved.

    Surprise! We got the amnesty but no enforcement. And that is why we have 11 million more law breaking illegal aliens now.

    Given that same math, if we agree to this amnesty we should have 33 million illegals in 2040 that we will be asked to grant amnesty to or we ill be considered racist if we don't.

    May 9, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  17. Guest

    Da truf hurtz

    May 9, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  18. GI Joe

    DeMint is a specialist ONLY in manipulating people.

    $6.4 Trillion sounds like a really big number - that's why the amount is emphasized but not the fact that it is over a 50 year period. FIFTY YEARS.

    May 9, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |