Anti-Immigration Groups Refuse To Condemn Heritage Author’s Racism

When the Heritage Foundation released its report claiming that the new immigration legislation — erroneously called amnesty in the report — would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion, they probably didn’t expect it to go over as poorly as it did.  Not only did conservative politicians, think tanks, and economists (not to mention progressives) fight back against the “data” in the report, it also came to light that the report’s author Jason Richwine previously insisted that non-white immigrants, particularly Latinos, have a genetically lower IQ than their white counterparts. Such blatant support for a racism-based argument against immigration chased away most remaining champions of the Heritage-Richwine report. The backlash was so intense that Richwine “resigned “ his position from the conservative think tank.  And yet, the John Tanton Network of anti-immigrant organizations has not condemned Richwine who appears to be an old school eugenicist. The three main organizations associated with Tanton — NumbersUSA, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) — all include as part of their mission statements the assertion that they are pro-immigrant or supportive of legal immigrants. Based on their collective reaction to Richwine, however, this claim is categorically untrue.  Since Richwine’s resignation, NumbersUSA has maintained its blog posts on the Heritage report, has left up tweets supporting and promoting it, and has not spoken out against Richwine or the ideals he holds.  NumbersUSA insists that it supports immigration and immigrants but is against illegal immigration. That position is suspect given founder and president Roy Beck’s history of work with white nationalist publications like The Social Contract and VDARE. It seems like condemning Richwine’s IQ argument would be a good way to prove that the organization is not, in fact, anti-immigrant.  It appears as though the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s original post about the report on has been scrubbed down to simply say “Heritage Foundation: Amnesty to cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion!” One can assume that the original url did not display a page so bereft of language, graphics, or any opinion whatsoever.  FAIR has not commented on Richwine’s history of writing anti-Latino policy prescriptions, even though its website insists that “FAIR believes America can and must have an immigration policy that is nondiscriminatory.” FAIR’s post on Facebook is still up and circulating among its supporters and their initial tweet promoting the report is still live.  Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS) president Mark Krikorian tweeted links to the Heritage report and CIS retweeted him, but other than this small Twitter effort the organization was silent on the report and the subsequent controversy. Krikorian is a frequent contributor to National Review Online but while he has not come out in support of or against Heritage or Richwine, his colleague (and former McCain campaign staffer) economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin did write a takedown of the Heritage report at NRO.  CIS bills itself as “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” but still doesn’t see itself as pro-immigrant enough to officially state that it is repugnant to say that immigrants are genetically inferior to white Americans.  If these organizations are truly pro-immigrant, they must speak out against Richwine’s assertions. Not doing so is an implicit endorsement of those sentiments.