Richwine was the lead author of the study that claimed "means-tested welfare benefits" would cost $900 million annually, and wealthy Americans would pay the bulk of the $6.3 trillion that would be spent naturalizing people who are here illegally.
Richwine has received extensive criticism over his study as being "ugly racism" from Democrats and Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called it "flawed" and decimated the central arguments:
"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."
Sen. Rubio was commenting tangentially on the supposed basis of Richwine's study which stems from his doctoral dissertation. Richwine's thesis titled "IQ and Immigration Policy" argues that "Hispanic immigrants, even after several generations, had lower IQs than non-Hispanic whites. Immigration reformers were fools if they didn’t grapple with that."
This stance has been receiving widespread criticism in recent days, and had placed the Heritage Foundation in a tight bind. Even as recently as Thursday, Heritage Foundation was trying to balance distancing themselves from Richwine while defending the study he helped coauthor.
This "resignation" will serve as a major blow to Heritage Foundation's legitimacy in the immigration debate just as they were about to double down to influence the conversation. Conservative media is going to paint this story as a 'crucifixion' of Richwine, and this process had already begun with Rush Limbaugh who earlier this week addressed the topic on his show:
RUSH: If you didn't want the detail, the summary [of the Heritage Foundation study] was just powerful, and it talked about $6.3 trillion of net cost. Well, all kinds of people -- predictably from the Democrat Party, but some in the Republican Party now -- are coming out to discredit this whole thing. They're trying to discredit the scholarship, the math. One of the criticisms is, "Those guys at Heritage, they analyze this in a static way! They didn't calculate any of the dynamics." What they mean by that is, "Wait a minute! Yeah, some of these new arrivals may end up on the welfare rolls but some of them are gonna be paying taxes, too, and that's gonna wash out whatever benefits they get."
What do you think of this development? Was Richwine 'crucified' or is this just another failed attempt by the Heritage Foundation to control the national debate? Discuss with me below or on Twitter @shwetika.