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Discredited, Flawed Heritage Immigration Report Embraced By Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

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Today, one of the leading anti-immigrant voices in the country, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), hosted a press conference to rail against the Senate’s immigration reform bill. In its coverage of the event, Buzzfeed reported a “Small Turnout For Anti-“Amnesty” Leaders In Congress.” If you’re so inclined, watch the presser here. We heard something we hadn’t heard for a couple days — members of Congress embracing the Heritage Foundation immigration report.

We’ve barely heard a peep about the discredited Heritage Foundation immigration report during the Senate markup. That’s no surprise, not only because of the flawed report itself, but because of the controversy swirling around one of its co-authors, Jason Richwine. As we’ve noted several times, in Richwine’s 2009 dissertation, he wrote, “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.” Most members of Congress, even the hard-core anti-immigrant ones, don’t want to be associated with that ugliness.

But, if we had guessed which members of Congress would continue to associate themselves with this failed report, we probably would have guessed Steve King. Today, King touted the report and pretty much cited its shoddy economics as his main rationale for opposing reform:

It’s a terrible idea if you look at it from an economic perspective. At no stage in their lives do…does the universe of those who would receive amnesty make a net financial contribution to this country, at no stage, not a single year out of all those years.  And, that’s off of Heritage Foundation’s report, Robert Rector’s report, which many of you are familiar with.

Yes, Rep. King, we’re very familiar with the Heritage Foundation. Most people are. Even before the Richwine scandal, the leading critics of that report were, in fact, conservatives, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Americans for Tax Fairness founder Grover Norquist, former Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour, and Bush administration economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin.

So, yeah, a lot of people don’t want to be anywhere near that report for a variety of reasons. But not Steve King. He’s got nothing else to justify his opposition to reform, besides his strong anti-immigrant animus.