Q&A: Mark Steyn on Illegal Immigration

Author and columnist Mark Steyn—the wittiest man we know—visited the HUMAN EVENTS offices this week to talk about his new book, “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It” (published by Regnery, our sister company).

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The book reveals the growing threat of anti-Americanism in Old Europe and the growth of radical Islam. Steyn’s conclusion is that America will have to stand alone—and in doing so, better win this great struggle.

Today is the final of three Podcasts we’ve run this week of our interview. Below is a transcript of our conversation, which covers Steyn’s views on the illegal immigration debate and some final thoughts on how to deal with radical Islam.

I wanted to ask you about the situation with immigration reform—

With my immigration? [Laughter] The border patrol are outside are they? [More laughter] Do your worst guys.

How does America’s lack of ability to secure its border send a broader message to its enemies in the world?

Well, I think the broader message it sends is that the border is a joke. On the southern side you’ve basically had a politically position taken that nothing will be done to enforce the borders. If you can physically get into America, you can stay here. In fact, it’s worse than just having an open-borders policy because in effect you’ve had—what you have in America is—a network set up to facilitate the production of fake identities.

What is a jihadist looking for? He’s looking for a fake identity. Where would you go if you’re in Afghanistan and you’ve signed up with the jihad and you need to establish a fake identity? Where would you go? Would you go to France? United Kingdom? Actually it’s quite difficult to fake someone’s identity there—you’ve basically, pretty much actually got to be them. But America has basically has an industry in the generation of false Social Security identities, false drivers licenses. It’s the best place on the planet to come and get fake ID and establish a fake identity.

George W. Bush’s daughter, when she was in her piña colada phase was—had fake I.D. and, when was at—whatever it was—Chili’s Mexican Roadhouse in Crawford drinking under an assumed name. There’s a whole—America is basically—has set up, has colluded in the corruption of its own state databases on immigration and that’s a huge advantage to terrorists. And if America doesn’t want to get serious about that then, frankly, there’s no reason why—if September 11 wasn’t enough to make America get serious about the illegal immigration networks, then I don’t think anything will.

You say in your book that we can “submit to Islam, destroy Islam, or reform Islam.” What would you like to see us do?

Well, I don’t really think we can really, credibly do any of those—I think if those are the choices, we’ll probably end up submitting to Islam. But the critical one is to reform Islam, and I think that is not in our gift to do. In other words, Muslims have to want to reform Islam. So the question then becomes: What kind of pressure can we bring to bear that will encourage Islam to reform and basically expunge this virus from the global blood stream? That’s the big question because if you’re not thinking—and I hope guys in the administration are thinking about this—because if you’re not thinking about it, chances are it’s not going to happen.

One final question. With respect to Indonesia and the secular vs. fundamentalist Islamic views of its population, which side do you see is gaining power? How do you predict the Sunnis’ influence in that region of the world will play out on the political—on the world—stage?

Well, Indonesia’s very interesting because the dictatorship held radical Islam in check for a while. And when the dictatorship fell, clearly, Islamist groups moved in and have had some success. They perpetrated the Bali bombings. If you look at their map of their ambitions, they’d like the caliphate to stretch all the way from Spain to Indonesia but also into Western Australia. They see Western Australia as being part of the house of Islam.

And, I think, the good news there—it’s a fragile country, it’s a fragile democracy, Indonesia—but the good news is that if you—when you look at the broad mass of people they do not seem to be interested in a radical Islamist view of the world. It’s the most populace Muslim country and, clearly, there are some Islamist groups there who are exploiting—for example, if there’s some unemployment issues or whatever they’ve had some success in exploiting that—but not really a lot.

I’m kind of modestly encouraged—I think it’s easier—I think the reality of the world is Muslim nations, in the scheme of thing, Muslim nations will find it easier to reform than bicultural, half-Muslim, half-European nations, which is what France and Belgium and the Netherlands will be.


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