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Heritage Study's Co-Author Thinks Hispanics Have Lower IQs than Whites

J. Mijin Cha

Here’s one reason why Heritage’s immigration study came out the way it did: one of the co-authors of the study thinks that Hispanics have lower IQs than White Americans. A big flaw in the Heritage study is that is basically assumes that undocumented workers will live in poverty and any subsequent future generation will also live in poverty. As a result, formerly undocumented workers and their progeny will only be a drain on the social safety net and not contribute meaningfully to the economy or society.

This logic is both untrue and offensive. For one, undocumented workers currently contribute more in tax revenues than they receive in government services. Second, as we wrote earlier, studies have shown that within five years of gaining legal status, previously undocumented workers experienced a 15.1 percent increase in their average inflation-adjusted wages. That increase means more revenues for state and Federal government and a stronger economy with more people with increased purchasing power. And, again, don’t take my word for it. The Manhattan Institute, Cato, and even Heritage back in 2006 showed the economic benefits to immigration reform.

But, considering that co-author Jason Richwine’s dissertation focused on how immigrants should be allowed into the United States based on IQ and “The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population,” it’s not surprisingly that he, and by association Heritage, believe that undocumented workers and immigrants add nothing of value to society. Richwine also wrote:

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.

How this passes for academic merit is beyond me. But it's worth noting that eugenicists played a prominent role in the push to restrict immigration a century ago. In fact, the leading eugenicist Harry Laughlin conducted research in Europe aimed at proving that Italians and Eastern European Jews were intellectually inferior and a drain on national resources -- research that he presented in testimony before Congress in the lead up to the 1924 law restricting immigration. 

Mike Gonzalez, Vice President of Communications at Heritage, sought to distance that institution from Richwine's dissertation by emailing Wonkbook at the Washington Post to say:

This is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings in no way reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation. Nor do the findings affect the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to the U.S. taxpayer.

Right. Except that presumably Richwine was hired partly based on his past scholarship and this report reflects some of the same assumptions in his dissertation. 

In any case, you only have to take a look at the top leadership in the tech industry, financial industry, and nearly every other industry to see the positive impact that immigration has had on our economy and society. It’s too demeaning to immigrants and children of immigrants (like myself) to actually debunk Richwine’s offensive arguments that he’s trying to pass off as scholarship. Let’s just say that Richwine’s work is as devoid of evidence as it is of humanity.