David Barton, the religious right’s favorite pseudo-historian, is promoting a disputed Heritage Foundation study that says immigration reform will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in welfare and other public costs. We’ll leave to pro-reform groups to argue why the Heritage study is flawed. (But we’ll note that some conservative are arguing that immigration reform would lower the deficit. Moreover, the Social Security Administration says it would boost Social Security.)
We also won’t quibble here over Barton’s portrayal of reform as “amnesty.” But we do think it’s interesting that the study Barton is promoting was co-authored by someone with some stunning views on race and intelligence.
Co-author Jason Richwine has also argued in the past that immigrants on average have lower IQs than white Americans and that at least part of the reason for that is genetics. His doctoral dissertation called for a policy that excludes immigrants with lower IQs (calling it “IQ selection”). Here’s what he said about Hispanic immigrants:
“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.”
Heritage Foundation has sought to distance itself from Richwine’s views on immigrants and intelligence (but not, of course, his claims about the cost of immigration reform). But we wonder: is it really surprising that someone who thinks Hispanics are genetically predisposed to be dumber than non-Hispanic white Americans would also conclude that Hispanic immigrants will cost taxpayers more money in welfare and other public spending?