As is typical, the Heritage scholar, Jason Richwine, was not forced out solely because of controversy surrounding the report on the costs of immigration reform. Rather, it was his 2009 Harvard dissertation arguing that immigrants had a lower IQ than whites that gave liberals the ammunition to force him to resign.
Richwine’s controversial suggestion was that the US should base its immigration policy on an “IQ selection system.” Racialists on the left pounced on this impractical idea and Richwine is paying the price for his political naivete.
The co-author of a controversial immigration report issued this week by the Heritage Foundation has left the conservative think tank after his academic work on the subject came under intense scrutiny and criticism.
The resignation of Jason Richwine, who was a senior policy analyst at Heritage, caps a challenging week for the prominent conservative research outlet, which has sought to make its mark on the immigration debate under the fresh leadership of former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. Mr. DeMint, a Republican, formally took the helm of the think tank in April.
Mr. Richwine co-authored a report, released earlier this week, that tried to gauge the cost to taxpayers of legalizing 11 million immigrants in the U.S. unlawfully. He and the lead author, Heritage senior research fellow Robert Rector, pegged the cost at $6.3 trillion over 50 years.
The highly-anticipated report was criticized by pro-immigration forces, and stirred controversy in conservative Republican circles, where there is a sharp divide on whether to proceed with an immigration overhaul.
Mr. Richwine soon drew fire from liberals and Hispanic lawmakers in Congress for work he had done studying relative IQs of different immigrant groups. In his Harvard University dissertation, he argued that persistent differences between immigrants’ IQs and those of white Americans should be a factor in determining who should be allowed to permanently come to the U.S.
“Jason Richwine let us know he’s decided to resign from his position. He’s no longer employed by Heritage,” Mike Gonzalez, vice president for communications at Heritage, said in a statement Friday afternoon. “It is our long-standing policy not to discuss internal personnel matters.”
Mr. Richwine couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. Richwine graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in 2009. A summary of his dissertation states, “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.”
Excuse me, but what am I missing here? Mr. Richwine’s dissertation certainly reached a controversial conclusion. But try as I might, I haven’t been able to find a single statement from someone who’s read it. Was it peer reviewed? What were the specific criticisms leveled against its methodology, its sources, or anything else related to the paper?
The fact is, there needn’t be any specific scholarly criticism at all for liberals to call Mr. Richwine names:
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Rubén Hinojosa (D., Texas) said: “Though the CHC welcomes Jason Richwine’s resignation, it is still very disheartening that the Heritage Foundation did not renounce his research and the ridiculous report on immigration that he co-authored.” He added: “As we have said many times before, words have consequences and we cannot afford the consequences of this man’s bigotry and ignorance to ripple through to productive, bipartisan talks toward immigration reform.”
Bigotry? Ignorance? How stupid is it to make wild, unsubstantiated accusations when you haven’t even read — much less understood – the supposed evidence that “proves” this man a bigot? Did Hinojosa read the paper? Or is he simply giving a knee-jerk reaction to conclusions reached that, as far as anyone can determine, are born out by the statistics contained in the dissertation? An IQ selection process might be political nonviable, but why does it prove him a bigot? Is it because racists cheer that kind of stuff? Are we to base criticism of a scholarly paper on the impression it makes on knuckle-dragging troglodytes?
The same might be said for Mr. Richwine’s immigration study from this week. Where are the legitimate criticisms of his methodology? Or a critique of his conclusions based on competing or contradictory scholarship?
The Heritage study may, indeed, be full of it and Mr. Richwine may be an academic fraud. But given that one of the most vital issues connected with immigration reform is how much it is going to cost the American taxpayer, perhaps a little more attention should be paid to what is actually in the study rather than trying to discredit it by pointing to another paper written by the author that no one has read but reaches politically incorrect conclusions.