Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint’s coming out party as head of the Heritage Foundation is not going very well. The conservative think tank’s immigration report – which labels the cost of immigration reform at $6.3 trillion and was co-authored by a white supremacist – has caused a backlash against the group from prominent Republican lawmakers and party donors. There are now even discussions of hiring a crisis management firm to deal with the negative reaction to the report.

The Heritage Foundation has gone into damage-control mode in the last few days, after coming under fire from Republicans and conservative outside groups over a report it published that puts the price tag of immigration reform at $6.3 trillion.

The conservative think tank is considering hiring a high-profile public relations firm to help deal with the fallout of the report that was supposed to be their big play in the immigration debate, according to two sources familiar with Heritage.

Prominent Republican lawmakers such as Marco Rubio have questioned the accuracy of the $6.3 trillion price tag. Then there are the revelations that the co-author of the study, Jason Richwine, wrote for white nationalist publications which comes after the Washington Post discovered Richwine wrote that whites have superior intelligence to Hispanics in his doctoral dissertation.

Richwine’s dissertation asserts that there are deep-set differentials in intelligence between races. While it’s clear he thinks it is partly due to genetics — “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ” — he argues the most important thing is that the differences in group IQs are persistent, for whatever reason. He writes, “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.”

The Heritage Foundation you say? Well at least the mask is off the immigration debate. Maybe instead of doing damage control the Heritage Foundation can help lead an honest discussion which would include the truth – that much of the conservative opposition to immigration reform is based on racial anxieties. Or is honest discussion and free thinking not really the goal of conservative think tanks?

Photo by U.S. Congress under Public Domain