Author Of Heritage Immigration Study Admits He Has ‘Not Examined The Whole Bill’

Robert Rector at Heritage

Robert Rector, the lead author of the Heritage Foundation’s widely panned immigration study, stood by his claim Tuesday that immigration reform would cost taxpayers a “minimum” $6.3 trillion, even as he admitted, “I have not examined the whole bill yet.”

In the meantime, Rector has fielded criticism from every conservative corner. Grover Norquist’s Americans For Tax Reform, American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, and Republicans Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, and Haley Barbour have all had sharp critiques of the report.

These critics charge that he ignores the upward mobility of legalized immigrants, as well as the contributions of highly educated, skilled immigrants. That did not stop him from speculating that the parts of the bill he missed would still mean a “tidal wave” of low-skilled workers:

I have not examined the whole bill yet. I will and if the bill looks like any other comprehensive bill that we’ve ever had, what this bill will have is a massive influx of even more unskilled immigrants. That will replicate this problem all over again.

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When asked on CNBC if his study includes “an economic growth component, because part of this bill will be braniacs, entrepreneurs, engineers, and other innovators,” Rector replied, “No. We’ve only looked in the study at the cost of amnesty.”

The amount of pushback appears to have unnerved Rector. In the 24 hours since the study was published, Rector now claims his critics are not conservatives at all and do not understand his work. “Anyone who engages in that kind of sham is not a conservative and not a fiscal conservative,” he said. And he singled out Norquist’s criticism in particular, saying, “you tell me what’s wrong with those numbers, Grover.” In fact, Norquist explained exactly why he thinks the numbers are wrong earlier today.