Immigration activists are praising the Heritage Foundation for accepting the resignation of researcher Jason Richwine, who argued in recent years that groups of non-white immigrants have inherently lower IQs that could make it impossible for them to adequately assimilate in America. Heritage distanced itself from his past statements, but stood by his work co-authoring a recent study claiming immigration reform would cost $6.3 trillion in large part because undocumented immigrants would fail to improve their education or income levels.
“We welcome Mr. Richwine's resignation, but are still waiting for the Heritage Foundation to renounce the findings of his research, which like his claims about Latino IQ's are false and unbecoming of a research institution like the Heritage Foundation,” Arturo Carmona, executive director of Latino advocacy group Presente.org said in a statement. “Hiring racists like Richwine is unacceptable, but whats worse is putting their organization's name on a report laden with faulty research.”
Journalist-turned-activist Jose Antonio Vargas also released a statement through his immigration advocacy group Define American.
“Racism and xenophobia have no place in the debate on immigration reform, period," Vargas said. "I hope this is a lesson for all sides that what the public is looking for is a fair and honest debate on immigration reform, not long discredited racial theories designed divide us rather than unite us.”
United We Dream, which advocates on behalf of young undocumented immigrants, took a different tack. In a statement, the group demanded Heritage president Jim DeMint resign for letting Richwine resign instead of firing him.
"It is not good enough that Mr. Richwine resigned as such decision implicates Mr. Demint agreement with Mr. Richwine’s extreme views," a spokesman for the group said. "We are urging Mr. Demint to step down as President of the Heritage foundation if the institution is to stand for principled conservative values rather than an institution that condones racial extreme views."