To the conservative Heritage Foundation, comprehensive immigration reform is an epic boondoggle. To wit, in a report released earlier this week, Heritage puts the cost of immigration reform at a whopping $6.3 trillion. That’s nearly half the size of the United States economy.
Not only does Heritage assume a world where every unauthorized immigrant becomes a citizen, but it assumes one where upward mobility has disappeared—every immigrant is taking more in benefits than paying in taxes—and one where there are no economic gains from legalizing and integrating immigrants.
In the push to understand why Heritage would make such assumptions, Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post discovered an important fact about one of the coauthors, Jason Richwine, a “senior policy analyst” at Heritage. Richwine earned his Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University in 2009, with a dissertation titled “IQ and Immigration Policy.”
His thesis is straightforward and clearly stated in the abstract: “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.”