Heritage Foundation Promotes Immigration Study Even GOP Hates

On Monday, the Heritage Foundation rolled out their study of immigration reform, at least with regard to the effect that granting a pathway to citizenship might have on the country. The study was so incredibly flawed and lopsided that it set off a firestorm of controversy inside the Republican party, with Paul Ryan and Haley Barbour leveling public criticism of the study's conclusions.

They're smart to criticize it, because one of the co-authors has built a reputation on weaving his white supremacist views into academia. It really shines through on this so-called study, but the SPLC was onto Jason Richwine back when he was an AEI fellow at Harvard writing up his PhD thesis on immigrants and IQ.

In 2008, SPLC noted that his thesis was wildly popular with nativists and white supremacists. This is not surprising. Here it is in Richwine's own words:

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.

SPLC has a few more details:

Richwine joined Krikorian and Fred Siegal, a professor at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, for the July 1 discussion at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an influential, conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Richwine, who is completing a dissertation on immigration and IQ, is a National Research Initiative fellow at AEI and will remain there after finishing his degree this fall. He joins AEI-sponsored scholar Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, the highly controversial 1994 book that argues that blacks and Latinos have lower IQs than whites and that most social welfare and affirmative action programs are doomed to failure as a result.

For those who thought that ranking immigrant groups based on IQ was a relic of the early 20th century, Richwine’s remarks were instructive. He said that in America there’s an IQ hierarchy, with Jews at the top, followed in descending order by East Asians, non-Jewish whites, Hispanics and blacks. “Group differences in ability, combined with a natural tribal disposition, is going to create, usually, parallel cultures within a multiracial society rather than an assimilated culture,” he said. “I think that is a major, major obstacle to the assimilation of today’s immigrants, because they are not from Europe which is, I think, a major difference.”

Oh, all righty then. My first reaction was to ask who thinks this is something to study while failing to note cultural differences with respect to intelligence and IQ. I think the answer to that is fairly apparent.

It probably goes without saying that this kind of xenophobic response plays well with the extreme right, but it would be wrong to ignore the fact that Richwine has been associated with two think tanks which receive millions every year from right wing billionaires like the Koch and DeVos families. AEI and Heritage are both closely aligned with the Kochtopus, so you should assume that they're helpful when it comes to feeding nativist tendencies. So helpful, in fact, that they're willing to foot part of the bill for faux scholars like Richwine to come up with faux results to stoke the engine of hate they've created.


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