The Heritage Foundation this week released a study estimating that the Senate immigration bill will cost taxpayers $6 trillion over the next 50 years, the expected life cycle of the persons legalized by the path to citizenship.
The study has touched off a tremendous controversy - and what's most notable about the onslaught is how brazenly it ignores the study's contents.
The New York Times today, for example, has a big story impeaching the credibility of one of the study's co-authors, Jason Richwine.
“Whether you agree or disagree with the Heritage study, what their co-author believes is downright insulting and shameful,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a group that has mobilized support for the bill. “Heritage has really become an outlier. The rest of the country is having a 21st-century conversation about immigration reform, and Heritage is caught in 1800. I really think their entire credibility is in question.”
Sorry, no. If you agree with the Heritage study - and so far I have not heard any good reason to doubt it - the results are so important and explosive that the coauthor's other views dwindle into a mere footnote to history. It's not some personal quirk of Jason Richwine's that has caused him to doubt that the legalized immigrants will rapidly raise their skill levels or education standards. The most authoritative study of Mexican immigration over time has found exactly the same thing. Edward Teles and Velma Ortiz write from the left in their book, Generations of Exclusion. They indict American society, discriminatory educational attitudes, and other "exclusionary" forces - but they have the goods that Mexican-American inter-generational progress has slowed to a stall. I would follow Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in putting the blame on the new American labor market and the reduction in blue-collar wages in a post-industrial economy.
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