Is Heritage Foundation's Push Against Low-Skilled Foreigners a Proxy for IQ-Based Immigration?


It would certainly seem so from a story this morning in the Washington Post on one of the author's of the Heritage study about the social welfare costs of immigrants that I blogged yesterday. The Post reports that Jason Richwine, who co-authored the study with Robert Rector, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation, "IQ and Immigration Policy," at Harvard University in which he explicitly considered whether Uncle Sam should IQ-test prospective immigrants. Here's what Richwine's dissertation abstract says:

The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market. Selecting high-IQ immigrants would ameliorate these problems in the U.S., while at the same time benefiting smart potential immigrants who lack educational access in their home countries.

The Post continues:

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."

Furthermore, says the Post:

That rhetorical strategy is reflected in Heritage's current work on immigration. His and Rector's report recommends greatly reducing "low-skilled" immigration and increasing "high-skilled" immigration. "The legal immigration system should be altered to greatly reduce the number of low-skill immigrants entering the country and increase the number of new entrants with high levels of education and skills that are in demand by U.S. firms," they write.

My question, if maintaining a national IQ is a worthy goal for Uncle Sam, why stop with immigrants? Why not test Americans too and put in place measures to raise their IQ as well? Eugenics anyone?

(But what impresses me is that Harvard lets people write dissertations like these. Score one for free speech.)

Update: I just got this statement from Mike Gonzalez, Vice President of Communications, The Heritage Foundation:

"This [Jason Richwine's dissertation] is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings in no way reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation.  Nor do the findings affect the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to the U.S. taxpayer."