Don't let my Yale Ph.D, my Stanford Master's, and my U.C. Berkeley Bachelor's fool you.
I'm an idiot.
As a journalist and a political independent, I approached with an open mind the Heritage Foundation's immigration report which argues against the proposed immigration bill. I listened to former South Carolina Senator and foundation head James DeMint, political big brother to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, as he went on a media blitz beginning with the Sunday public affairs shows, culminating with a panel that placed a $6 trillion dollar price tag on this legislation over the life of immigrants who would be legalized, footed by the American tax payer.
Ah sí. The report labels the bill "amnesty."
I had to countlessly reload the live stream, a sign that policy wonks, activists, and the Twitterati wanted front row seat to witness this conservative fratricide play out as DeMint allowed the public filleting of his protégé who is backing an overhaul to our immigration laws. No tea and sympathy for Rubio and his efforts to keep the Republican party in future elections competitive with Latinos--a growing segment of the electorate.
Opponents want to debate border security, costs to society, or fairness to other immigrants who wait years for their papers? Bring it. Debate is necessary as are amendments to improve this proposed legislation.
But hold the racism which is exposed by the Washington Post's WonkBlog. Doing a little digging, the reporter discovered the report's co-author wrote a dissertation, arguing in favor of IQ-based immigration and labeling Latinos as dummies--FOREVER:
“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.”
In effect, Papi's brain is the size of a pea.
Heritage quickly sought to distance itself from the co-author whose views have been embraced by white nationalists, according to hate group watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Unfortunately for Heritage, I have been covering the immigration debate for years and have heard repeatedly "highly-skilled immigrants"--which is the eugenic IQ immigration standard in disguise--preferred by conservatives. Indeed, to stay globally competitive, we need "smart" immigrants--the scientists and engineers that start companies in Silicon Valley. But it is delusional economics to pretend we don't need low-skilled immigrants, such as those who pick crops in the fields of California's Central Valley. And although credible research does show that Americans without a high school diploma will be hurt by mass legalization of the estimated 11 million who are here unlawfully, remember the crops that rotted in Alabama when this state began enforcing in 2011 its restrictive immigration law? I recall that quite well: the workers farmers found quit after a few hours of this work.
Last year, I heard Latinos echo earlier feminists when, leading up to November, community advocates said:
"This election is personal."
I'm going to point out that this is a Yo Mami moment which takes "the personal" further on this issue:
"Immigration is about familia."
It's about mothers, fathers, and abuelas.
And this is exactly what the moderate Republican intelligentsia fails to understand. A quick Twitter check of the party brass and my inbox at press time, and I don't see unified denunciation or distance from the Heritage report and its ethos (with the exception of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake). And outlier perspective? Yes, but one that is being conflated with the GOP.
Latinos have the memory of elephants. Ask California Republicans who after the granddaddy of modern restrictive immigration laws witnessed Hispanics overwhelmingly register Democratic and turn the Golden state blue.
You don't need a high IQ or a fancy degree to see that the ethos of this Ivy league doctoral research--which evaluates Hispanics as inferior--frames this report's economic argument against the current immigration proposal.
Let's call much of the conservative opposition to overhauling the immigration system what it is: racism and hate.