Heritage immigration study co-author penned articles for ‘nationalist’ website

Heritage Foundation analyst Jason Richwine, the co-author of a study claiming the immigration reform bill pending in the Senate would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion, wrote two articles in 2010 for a website founded by Richard Spencer, a self-described "nationalist" who writes frequently about race and against "the abstract notion of human equality."

Richwine's two stories for Spencer's website, AlternativeRight.com, dealt with crime rates among Hispanics in the United States. AlternativeRight.com describes itself as "dedicated to heretical perspectives on society and culture—popular, high, and otherwise—particularly those informed by radical, traditionalist, and nationalist outlooks."

Richwine's articles on AlternativeRight.com were posted within the first few weeks of the site's launch and were the last he wrote for the site.

The website has published several controversial pieces about nationalism and race since Spencer founded it three years ago. Spencer is now the chairman of the Montana-based National Policy Institute, an organization that describes itself as a think tank for "White Americans."

Richwine's articles for AlternativeRight.com, "Model Minority?," published on March 3, 2010, and "More on Hispanics and Crime," published the next day, push back on an American Conservative essay that argued that some conservatives have over-hyped the crime rate among Hispanics. (Richwine's article was cross-posted on the website of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington where Richwine was previously a fellow.)

"A proper analysis of the data indicates that Hispanics have a substantially higher crime rate than whites," Richwine wrote in the first piece, which he backed up with federal prison data showing the incarceration rates of whites and Hispanics.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported on Richwine's 2009 Harvard University dissertation, which examined whether the United States should exclude immigrants with low IQs and argued that "the average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population."

The Heritage Foundation Thursday distanced itself from Richwine's dissertation in response to the Washington Post story.

"The Harvard paper is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings do not reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, as race and ethnicity are not part of Heritage immigration policy recommendations," Heritage spokesman Mike Gonzalez said in a statement.

Emails and phone calls to the Heritage Foundation from Yahoo News were not immediately returned Thursday.

Richwine's study on the cost of the immigration bill, co-written with Heritage Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector, was lauded by some who oppose the ongoing effort in Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration system. But it was also criticized by economists on both the left and right.

In an interview Thursday with Yahoo News, Spencer defended Richwine's work and outlined his own philosophy of "nationalism."

Spencer said he does not believe in the "superiority" of whites over other races, but he takes no issue with conducting data-based research about whether certain races, in general, have higher IQs or stronger economies.

"I would, without question, characterize myself and most things I do as nationalism—and I think that word is misused," Spencer said "People might think of that as simply xenophobia or irrational cheerleading for your country or something. But nationalism is a much more serious thing.

"It's a belief that you are part of an extended family," he said. "You believe that you are part of something bigger than yourself, it's an extended family, and you want to pursue the future health of this extended family. That is nationalism properly defined."

He added: "Race is real. Race has consequences in the real world. Loving your race is healthy and normal. So if that is the definition of racism—which I would think of as nationalism, or you could say racialism—then yes, that is what I believe," he said. "I think white people should love their history and love their ancestors. Operating on some kind of infantile, abstract notion of human equality is actually a very unusual and unhealthy way to view the world."

Spencer pointed out that Richwine's article was one of the first published for the site when it launched three years ago, before some of the publication's more controversial articles were written.

"That was very early on in AltRight, and maybe we became a little too out there," Spencer said. "He does more mainstream stuff, so whether he supports other things that have been published in AltRight, I don't know the answer to that."