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By Candice Bernd
May 17, 2013
Caption : The Heritage Foundation's recent study on the Gang of Eight's immigration reform bill is so flawed that even conservatives are distancing themselves.     


You know that controversial Heritage Foundation report released last week that received waves of debunking from conservatives? The one that overestimated that immigration reform would cost the U.S. $6.3 trillion? Turns out one of the study’s main authors, Jason Richwine, is a little more than a bit prejudiced.

In 2009, Richwine wrote a dissertation in which he argued Hispanics will always have lower IQs than whites.

Heritage announced Richwine’s resignation as part of an ongoing damage control effort in the aftermath of public outcry against the flawed immigration report, POLITICO reported.

But the study’s lead author, Robert Rector,still stands by the report’s assertions though he admitted that he hasn’t yet examined the whole immigration bill.

Rector, however, can’t count on conservatives to back him up, as many have come out strongly to criticize the flawed findings.

Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Heritage’s leader has remained silent on the problematic study after it’s release (prior he was rather excited about it).

Now some immigration advocates, like Center for Community Change and Fair Immigration Reform, have interpreted DeMint’s silence as a sign of solidarity with the authors Richwine and Rector and are demanding the leader’s resignation.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Doug Holtz-Eakin, Grover Norquist, the Cato Institute, and the Bipartisan Policy Institute’s Immigration Task Force all refuted the study.

And here’s what some of the more crucial critiques:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):

Their argument is based on a single premise, which I think is flawed. That is these people are disproportionately poor because they have no education and they will be poor for the rest of their lives in the U.S. Quite frankly that’s not the immigration experience in the U.S. That’s certainly not my family’s experience in the U.S. The folks described in that report are my family. My mother and dad didn’t graduate high school and I would not say they were a burden on the United States…My parents were a lot better off 25 years after they emigrated here than they were when they first got here. And their children certainly have been. I still think we’re that country. And I still think we can be that country and even more in the future, so I guess I just have a lot more belief in the future of the country than some of the folks that helped prepare [the report].

Tim Kane, chief economist for the Hudson Institute and author of a 2006 Heritage Report:

At best, the authors make a compelling case that the U.S. welfare system is dysfunctional. That is true with or without a guest worker program, or with green cards for STEM, or with much of anything to do with immigration.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan:

The Congressional Budget Office has found that fixing our broken immigration system could help our economy grow. A proper accounting of immigration reform should take into account these dynamic effects.

Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform:

Unfortunately, Rector’s study was severely flawed in its methodology, and thus in its findings. Robert Rector’s work does not speak for the conservative movement; in fact, it does not even speak for the Heritage Foundation.

Former Bush Economic Adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin:

These studies directed conservatives to evaluate the merits of immigration and other policy reforms by their impact on the growth, vibrancy, and health of the private sector…Imagine the confusion among thoughtful conservatives, then, when in 2007, and repackaged and rereleased today as version 2.0, a Heritage study failed to consider the implications of reform and instead looked solely at the cost of low-skilled immigrants and those effects on the government’s profitability!

Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity:

The new Heritage report is still depressingly static, leading to a massive underestimation of the economic benefits of   immigration and diminishing estimated tax revenue. It explicitly refuses to consider the GDP growth and economic productivity gains from immigration reform—factors that increase native-born American incomes. An overlooked flaw is that the study doesn’t even score the specific immigration reform proposal in the Senate.  Its flawed methodology and lack of relevancy to the current immigration reform proposal relegate this study to irrelevancy.

Bipartisan Policy Center’s immigration task force, co-chaired by former governor Haley Barbour:

When public discourse focuses solely on potential costs of reform, we lose sight of key economic benefits of a smarter immigration policy…They start a disproportionate number of new businesses, employing hundreds of thousands of workers and contributing billions to the economy. Newly legalized immigrants would further expand the economy and our tax base, particularly after earning full access to the institutions that helped make America the world’s greatest mobilizer of human potential.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ):

Here we go again. New Heritage study claims huge cost for Immigration Reform. Ignores economic benefits. No dynamic scoring.


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