Let us stipulate, for starters, as Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, did, that claiming differences in IQ based on ethnicity is racist. Let us further acknowledge that Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation wrote in his 2009 Harvard doctoral dissertation that “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.”
Given just these details, why would anyone take seriously Hinojosa’s charge that a Heritage study authored by a team that included Richwine is “ugly racism and xenophobia dressed up in economic hyperbole”? The connection between the dissertation and the report, which notes that providing a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally will cost the nation $6.3 trillion, is tenuous enough to deserve ridicule.
Yet no one on the left is laughing. The Washington Post Wonkblog, which broke the story yesterday, claims that the “rhetorical strategy” that underlies Richwine’s dissertation “is reflected in Heritage’s current work on immigration,” adding that the “report recommends greatly reducing ‘low-skilled’ immigration and increasing ‘high-skilled’ immigration.” But how is a focus on skill level in any way related to or a reflection on intelligence? This year, 2 million college students will graduate, but only half of those attempting to enter the workforce will find jobs that use their intellectual skill sets. Who would argue that graduates from Harvard or Yale or Dartmouth who end up flipping burgers lack the brains to hold down better jobs?
Heritage has tried to distance itself from the criticism and from Richwine’s past views. In a statement released late yesterday, the Foundation wrote:
The Harvard paper is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. 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.
Elsewhere in the statement, the think tank writes, “We welcome a rigorous, fact-based debate on the data, methodology, and conclusions of the Heritage study on the cost of amnesty.”
But Hinojosa and his supporters in the liberal media are not interested in a fact-based debate. They’d rather just play the race card.
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