A project of the Center for Community Change

Center for Community Change Calls for Jim DeMint’s Resignation

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Contact:
For English language Media:
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)
For Spanish language Media:
Ricardo Ramírez, rramirez@communitychange.org,  202-339-9371, (202) 905-1738 (cell)

Leader of Conservative Foundation Should be Held Accountable for Repulsive Racialization of Immigration Debate

(WASHINGTON)–In response to the controversy over a Heritage Foundation report on immigration, Kica Matos, director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change, issued the following statement calling for Jim DeMint, President of the Foundation, to resign:

“No one should be surprised by the results of the Heritage Foundation’s “economic study” about the cost of immigration reform. After all, its president, Jim DeMint, is someone who has a history of unabashed opposition to immigration reform. And the Foundation has been an outspoken opponent of any type of legislation that would provide a path to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country.  This toxic combination led to the release of a report that has been widely criticized for its intellectual dishonesty and blatant racism.

The results from The Heritage Foundation’s study would be laughable if the undercurrents of the study weren’t so disturbingly anti-immigrant and openly hostile to immigrant families.

Heritage completely ignores the economic benefits that immigrants bring to this country. Beyond the economics, however (which are on our side: the libertarian Cato Institute put out a study last year that said immigration reform would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years), we must look at the true cost if we don’t fix our horribly mismanaged and broken immigration system: the cost of family separation. Every day that immigration reform legislation lingers, 1,100 families are separated.

To make matters worse, Heritage produced a report that blatantly attempts to racialize the debate over immigration reform.

In the study, immigrants are painted caricatured stereotypes reminiscent of this country’s shameful anti-immigrant history that Western Europeans from Ireland and Italy faced in the early 20th Century. For as long as people have been coming to the U.S., extreme anti-immigrant opponents have tried to cast people coming to this country as “takers,” ignoring  the long history of immigrants who have strived and thrived in America.

All of this is to say nothing of the hateful sentiments of the study’s co-author, Jason Richwine, who suggested in a 2009 paper that Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. have lower IQs than “white natives.”

The history of immigration in America is one in which immigrants add to the success of the nation overall and grow the economic pie.  When immigration reform passes, more workers and employers will pay their fair share of taxes, wages will increase for native-born and immigrant workers and consumer spending will expand. This will create millions of new jobs and it will raise the bar for all, instead of promoting a race to the bottom like our current immigration system.

The Heritage study is a smokescreen for conservative Republicans to hide behind. But that’s all it is, a smokescreen. Anti-immigrant senators are doing whatever they can to sink the bill. That’s why they introduced countless poison pill amendments, amendments that would require DNA testing, ban humanitarian travel, allow racial profiling, gut family re-unification provisions and keep immigrants from ever becoming citizens.

We cannot stand by and allow our country’s ugly history of racism and injustice to repeat itself.”

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