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Author of Heritage Report on Immigration Plan Resigns

The Heritage Foundation said one of the authors of a report released this week criticizing a bipartisan Senate plan to revise U.S. immigration laws has resigned.

The co-author, Jason Richwine, wrote a Harvard University dissertation in 2009 that said immigrants’ intelligence quotient scores were “substantially lower” than those of white Americans and that the difference “is likely to persist over several generations.”

Richwine is no longer employed by Heritage, Michael Gonzalez, the group’s vice president of communications, in an e-mail yesterday that didn’t give a reason for the resignation. Heritage is a policy group that supports smaller government led by former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a Republican.

The dissertation, first reported by the Washington Post on May 8, led to criticism from pro-immigration groups that said Richwine’s findings were grounded in racism.

The report released by Heritage on May 6 said creating a path to citizenship for about 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion over the immigrants’ lifetimes.

The figure is more than double the $2.6 trillion estimate Heritage produced the last time Congress attempted a broad revision of U.S. immigration law in 2007. The potential cost is part of opponents’ arguments against an immigration bill the Senate Judiciary Committee began considering May 9.

Growing ‘Underclass’

Richwine, a Heritage senior policy analyst, received his doctorate in public policy from Harvard University. Before joining Heritage in 2010, he had a fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He co-authored this week’s report with Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at Heritage.

In his dissertation, Richwine described a “growing Hispanic underclass.”

“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,” Richwine wrote, according to the Post.

Though Heritage attempted in a statement earlier this week to distance itself from Richwine’s previous work, some groups began to call for DeMint’s resignation.

One of them, Presente.org, a Latino advocacy group, said Richwine’s resignation isn’t enough to satisfy Heritage’s critics. In a statement, the group’s executive director, Arturo Carmona, said he is “still waiting for the Heritage Foundation to renounce the findings of his research.”

‘Faulty Research’

“Hiring racists like Richwine is unacceptable, but what’s worse is putting their organization’s name on a report laden with faulty research,” said Carmona.

The Heritage report was also under attack from Republicans who support revising immigration laws over its central finding that overhauling U.S. laws would inflate U.S. deficits and the national debt.

The report said legalizing undocumented immigrants will increase participation in programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, along with food stamps and public assistance for the poor.

Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director, said the report failed to consider increased tax revenue resulting from rising immigrant incomes over their lifespans and upward mobility by their children.

The Social Security Administration said May 8 the Senate bill would add more than $275 billion in revenue to Social Security and Medicare, increase the gross domestic product by 1.63 percent and add more than 3 million jobs over the next decade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heidi Przybyla in Washington at hprzybyla@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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