THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE; ELEANOR CLIFT;
DAN STEIN, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM;
AND STEVEN CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES
TAPED: FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF AUGUST 24-25, 2002
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Immigration after 9/11.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) There needs to be much better cooperation amongst the agencies to make sure we know who's coming in the country, what they're bringing in the country, why they're coming in the country, and are they leaving when they said they're going to leave the country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The immigration crackdown is on, and the results are coming in. The INS says that over the past six months, immigration to the U.S. has dropped by almost 20 percent. Visa offices abroad are granting fewer visas. U.S. citizenship applications have increased 65 percent over last year, but the Justice Department approvals are fewer than last year. Checkpoints at the airports are tighter, and security personnel there, federalized.
So, what's our remaining vulnerability?
REP. JIM RAMSTAD (R-MN): (From videotape.) Our nation's border security is our homeland's Achilles heel. Our nation's border security is a misnomer -- in fact, border insecurity -- insecurity is a more honest and accurate term.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In past years, the U.S. has targeted our border to the south -- 2,000 miles long -- and the illegal Mexicans who violate it. They are still the majority of the 250,000 illegals that make it into the country each year. Now, it's not Mexican illegals who are the focus; it's the al Qaeda.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) We ought to be routing out smugglers and focusing on criminals and, of course, stopping terrorists from coming into the country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This means increased control of the nation's ports, its sea borders and the 4,000-mile northern border with Canada. Despite the Canadian border being two times longer than the southern border, it has less than 4 percent of total border agents.
Question: Instead of putting resources on the borders and sea ports, a waste of money, many believe, would it be better to create a system of internal safeguards, e.g., no apartment leasing, no rental of apartments without a national ID card, et cetera? Catching them internally, is that a better way to go?
I ask you, Michael.
MR. BARONE: Well, John, I think the -- you know, you can make an argument, as you say "many believe" -- you can make an argument for a national ID card. I think, however, that it is something that sticks in the craw of the American people. There is something about us as a people that we don't like the idea of a national ID card, and as long as we have popularly elected government, I suspect we're not going to get it. We're not the kind of nation that, say, Germany is, where that is popular.
And the fact is that if we're thinking about defense against terrorism, one of the things we need to do -- we seem finally to be doing it -- is to shut down that visa express progress in our enemy's, the Saudis, in Saudi Arabia, where we were granting 97 percent of visas. The State Department was bragging that all you had to do if you were a Saudi or another Arab national was go to your travel agent; you'd never be interviewed -- most of them weren't -- September 11th hijackers came in on that. That's a thing we need to plug up right now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, and Mohamed Atta was able to open dozens of bank accounts because he used a real or phony Social Security number. Without that and with a national identity card, he would have been paralyzed to do anything financially.
MS. CLIFT: Well, right now, it's relatively easy to steal somebody's identity and open up a Social Security account, which is what he did. Look, I think there are people in this country who really recoil against the notion of a national ID card, but we have a Social Security card, we have driver's license; all that information is out there. I think a national ID card with biometric measurements so that they are very hard to duplicate, I think that's the wave of the future. It's inevitable.
And I really -- I don't like casting this net about -- of anti-immigration, all Saudis. I mean, the handful of Saudis that came here that meant us ill, if the State Department or the INS, if we had had systems in place, we should have known who they were and we should have been alert. And I think we can improve our technology here without punishing all the many decent Saudis and Arabs who want to come to this country.
MR. BARONE: Well, you surely are not for that visa express --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's go. I want to put a question to -- that question, same question, to Dan. What do you think, Dan? What's the dream scenario?
MR. STEIN: The dream scenario is that we get serious about a document that proves that I am who I say I am and that I have a right to be in this country, a driver's license. We need an integrated documentary standard, using the state driver's license with federal standards so they're all the same and they're all issued in conformity with birth records and federal immigration records. We're not seeing that kind of leadership in Congress or from the administration. But until we get the states involved in the battle to control illegal immigration, we're never going to stop terrorism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we still need INS agents to arrest and deport illegals? What about using the local police? We have plenty of law enforcement in this country. Why not empower them to arrest illegals?
MR. CAMAROTA: They could be used as force multipliers, and I think there's some reason to be hopeful that that could happen. But there's a lot of resistance on the part of activist groups that have pushed police departments not to play any role in immigration enforcement. But they could play a constructive role by being educated in immigration law by the INS. But, unfortunately, that hasn't happened.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many illegals are under a deportation requirement in the United States today?
MR. CAMAROTA: Well, we do know that there were 300,000 people who were ordered deported, and the INS simply had no idea whether they left the country. So, it's clear that our system for deporting people is broken.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can't find them?
MR. CAMAROTA: Well, they just don't know if they've left because usually they send them letters telling them that they've been deported, and, of course, they run.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you satisfied with the numbers that I put on the screen, particularly with regard to crossing over the southern border?
MR. STEIN: No. Illegal immigration is much higher than 250,000. That number just plain wasn't correct.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that was southern border.
MR. STEIN: Well, we're talking -- the overall level is probably about four to five hundred thousand a year, and it's growing. The same --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: From where? Across the --
MR. STEIN: Fifty percent from Mexico, the rest from around the world. Fifty percent of them are people who come in on tourist visas and they never go home. And it's a huge problem, and nobody's doing anything about it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they supported by us, when they get here?
MR. STEIN: Financially?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When they get here.
MR. STEIN: If they overstay and they're not working, they're going to be eligible for a variety of state programs -- (inaudible) -- don't have any money, indigent care, what have you. If older parents come from, say, China or India, and they've never paid into the system, they can get SSI.
MS. CLIFT: You're using this fear of terrorism now as a shield behind which to hide all of your anti-immigration positions.
MR. STEIN: One of many good reasons. One of many good reasons to -- (inaudible) -- immigration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please continue.
MS. CLIFT: Well, local enforcement, which you raised, has a history of looking the other way because a lot of the illegals in this country perform a very valuable part of our society, and people don't want to just be looking over their back and sending them home. We don't need to be wasting law enforcement resources on people who mean us no harm.
MR. BARONE: Yeah, I think Eleanor is right about that. I think that we've -- you know, the basic thing, we've got to get our immigration laws working in tandem with our labor market. There is a demand for workers substantially in excess of the amount of legal immigration allowed under the current laws from Mexico and some of these other countries. I think that it is not good to have a lot of people in this country who have illegal status. It's not -- it's a problem for them --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question --
MR. BARONE: -- and it's a problem for all of us. But I think that we need to make some adjustments with Mexico and the government of Vicente Fox on this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Which would do more to control immigration, beefing up border controls or a national identity card?
MR. BARONE: I think a national identity card would, but I don't think Americans will accept it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor? The polls, by the way, are going the other way now. They're well beyond the consensus -- the consensus point in favoring -- or being open to it.
MR. BARONE: Well, I think they've swung back against it, but, I mean, we'll see.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I think the card is inevitable, but I don't think we should give up on the borders. I mean, people sneak across the Mexican border, but you can't sneak in on a plane and there are a lot of good law enforcement steps put in place.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The borders -- the borders are too long? They're too porous? And the seaports are too many. Let's put that distinctly in a secondary position and render them powerless once they get inside the country or stop them at the point of origin?
MR. STEIN: We've got to stop the game. What we have is a game now. If you get into the interior, you get to stay. We've got to have interior enforcement, secure ID, solid investigations in the interior that make it much more difficult to stay here after you get in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think foreigners have far more to fear from an identity card than do Americans?
MR. CAMAROTA: I don't think there's necessarily reason to fear identity cards.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For foreigners.
MR. CAMAROTA: No, it's perfectly reasonable. Most countries --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Foreigners here illegally have to fear it.
MR. CAMAROTA: Absolutely. I think it could be part of our efforts to control illegal immigration within the United States. That, coupled with border patrol, could really have a big impact on the numbers.
MR. STEIN: (I'm in/amen ?).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is that the way to go is the ID card, and distinctly the borders should be subordinated to the ID card.
When we come back, is the INS beyond reform? Should it be abolished and reconstituted? Are new people needed at every level?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: INS split?
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) So I ask Congress to join me in creating a single, permanent, Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security with an overriding and urgent mission, with this primary -- primary focus: to secure the American homeland.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Bush wants the INS folded into the new Department of Homeland Security, especially in view of the failures in the visa process that let murderous hijackers into the U.S. But, Congress is divided. The House wants to split the current broad INS charter into two components: one, the welcoming of visitors; two, the screening of visitors.
REP. DAVE WELDON (R-FL): (From videotape.) Can the issuing of visas be a diplomatic function? It must be a security function, with the proper scrutiny only a trained agent can apply. Diplomats are trained to be diplomatic. This isn't about speed of service with a smile. This is about close and careful examination of each and every visa applicant.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The House wants to transfer the screening and enforcement arm of the INS into the Homeland Security Department and keep the welcoming and service arm, including visas and naturalizations, in the Department of Justice. The Senate says no split -- we'll move the entire INS operation into Homeland Security and structure its functions broadly into units, as needed.
Question: Does it matter whether the INS is split or moved intact?
I ask you, Dan Stein?
MR. STEIN: It does matter. If they're split and they don't talk to each other, then the service wing is going to rubber stamp visas without any controls. You've got to have a unitary function under somebody who's going to be accountable to Congress and the American people, who enunciates the value. The purpose of the INS is to keep out aliens who don't have a right to be here, and let everybody else come in who has a right. Right now, we don't have that value overarching.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I think --
MR. STEIN: And if we split the service, it could become -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on for a minute. Why is the INS so ineffective?
I ask you, Steven?
MR. CAMAROTA: I think the number one reason actually is leadership. Both the president, the head of the INS, the Democrats in Congress have all said the way to deal with illegal aliens, millions of them in the United States, is to hand out green cards. Now, if you put yourself in the position of an INS official or someone charged with enforcing our laws, knowing that the president and the head of the INS says, "What you do isn't important," you'd be foolish to enforce the law. And I think it comes down from the top.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Haven't we gone through a three-de
cade-long period of broadly inviting people here, and the attitude of the INS is welcoming that enormous number? Is the core culture of the agency now opening the doors and everybody welcome? Everybody's welcome. Isn't that the idea?
MR. CAMAROTA: Sure it is. But the reason for that is that successive administrations have neglected it. Congress has overworked it, not provided it funds --
MS. CLIFT: You know, it --
MR. CAMAROTA: -- if I just may finish -- and not given it the kind of political support it needs.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, it has a conflicting function and sometimes it's at war with itself. But, basically, it is laboring under all sorts of rules and regulations imposed upon it, not only by Democrats on Capitol Hill, but by Republicans, and never given enough resources. So, it's a --
MR. CAMAROTA: Absolutely.
MS. CLIFT: -- convenient whipping boy.
MR. CAMAROTA: Absolutely.
MS. CLIFT: And splitting the welcoming arm and the enforcement arm has a certain superficial appeal, but I actually agree with you that I think they have to go together. And I think Senator Kennedy and others who have studied this, who started out with "Let's split it" have all come around to a unitary position.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does anyone really think that this splitting it is going to do any -- be a magic wand?
MS. CLIFT: No, it's not. No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't we develop good management skills so the INS can reform itself if it is reformable?
MS. CLIFT: It's reformable, sure.
MR. BARONE: John, you do have one problem with this. One of my laws of federal agencies, of government agencies generally, is that those who serve a clientele of the relatively poor and inarticulate are just not -- do not create as good an institutional culture as those whose clientele tends to be the rich and articulate. And I think that is a permanent problem at the INS.
MS. CLIFT: That's why WorldCom --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Exit question.
MS. CLIFT: -- and Enron have done so well, Michael. (Laughs.)
MR. BARONE: The fact is that the SEC set up by Joseph P. Kennedy in the 1930's has -- over that 68 years has actually been a pretty good agency on the whole.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Can the INS be reformed, yes or no?
MR. BARONE: I think it can be directed more towards homeland -- being in the Homeland Security Department may change its overall mission and culture.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, with technology, money and sufficient -- a sufficient spotlight on it, of course it can be reformed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can it be reformed?
MR. STEIN: Not the way we're going right now. We have to rethink the whole strategy of how we manage the migration of millions of people every year. And we're not getting that kind of leadership in Congress or the administration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about abolishing it and reconstituting it? It has to be reformed because there are top-to-bottom problems in it.
MR. CAMAROTA: Well, it needs fundamental reform, everyone agrees. The question is, can it do that, given the enormous numbers we're talking about?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are new people needed at every level, Steven?
MR. CAMAROTA: We certainly could look at that possibility, absolutely. There's no reason to rule that out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, doubtful.
Issue three: "Your papers, please."
ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT: (From videotape.) Every year, the United States welcomes 35 million visitors to our country. More than 700,000 of these visitors come from countries in which al Qaeda has been active. As a result, we have tightened control at our borders in issuing new regulations to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Strengthening immigration laws means fingerprinting aliens, photographing aliens, registering aliens -- an estimated 100,000 of them, all holding visas, and the vast majority Middle Eastern men. The new border control system focuses on aliens who, quote, "fall into categories of elevated national security concern," unquote. This means visa holders from Middle Eastern countries, notably Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
New Rules: Fingerprints: checked against a database of suspected terrorists or other criminals; 30-day stays: all require registration with the INS and re-registration with the INS every 12 months; Social Security vulnerability: a crackdown on aliens stealing Social Security numbers and with them getting driver's licenses, and with both ID's, stay in the U.S. to work illegally.
Question: Are these new measures prudent safeguards or unnecessary ethnic profilings?
MS. CLIFT: Actually, there's nothing there that I think is unreasonable. I mean, I do think we have a right to keep track of people who come into this country.
But when you put somebody like John Ashcroft in charge of this, it makes me nervous. I mean, he's out there now advocating a TIPS program, which is a national snitch program in the country, which is absolutely ludicrous. So, I think when we look at expanding these kinds of civil liberties intrusions, you really have to worry about who's administering these programs and how far are they going to take them.
MR. STEIN: John, these are document security measures that have been recommended by every commission since Father Hesburgh's commission 25 years ago. Long overdue. Much -- we need to do it on a much wider basis. Look, as far as immigration goes, if you don't play by the rules, you don't get to play the game.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it too restrictive to focus mainly on Muslims? I ask you, Steve?
MR. CAMAROTA: As a triage mechanism, something you do first, obviously it makes sense maybe to focus on certain countries. But there's no reason it shouldn't be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking Muslim here. We're not talking about nations. We're talking about Muslims.
MR. CAMAROTA: Well --
MS. CLIFT: You're talking about religion, and that's wrong.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We don't talk -- we don't talk about nations because there's some members of the al Qaeda who come over here and they're French citizens perhaps or they're --
MR. CAMAROTA: British citizens, sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Reid, the fellow who had the shoe, he was from Great Britain.
MR. CAMAROTA: (We have no way ?) to identify them. But, John, there would be no way to practically identify the Muslims. You have to do it by country. And if you're going to start it, you should start it with the countries most at risk.
MR. STEIN: Yeah, John, we're going to have to stop Marin County too at that point, (such as ?) John Walker Lindh.
MR. CAMAROTA: But then, at some point, the -- (inaudible) -- is that you'd expand it. There's no reason not to gather fingerprints and photos on all visa holders.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Zacarias Moussaoui is a French citizen.
MR. CAMAROTA: He came under the visa waiver program.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's why focusing on nationalities is not going to -- (inaudible) -- being done.
MR. BARONE: I don't see anything wrong with focusing on anybody we want to focus here. No alien has a right to come into the United States. As one who favors large immigration, I nonetheless say that we have a right to screen people and to use whatever criteria we want, not worry about these charges of ethnic profiling --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Guantanamo --
MR. BARONE: We've had people --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the detainees are American, German and French, some of them. And we have (Bosnians ?) over here, also.
MR. BARONE: Well, I'm not -- I'm not saying that -- I'm not saying that focusing on Middle Eastern countries will net all of them, but it is obviously a rational thing that we should do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you have to say to this?
MR. STEIN: Clearly, look, it's going to take a lot more resources, technology, applied technology, to really get immigration under control. But until you want to pay the price and bring the numbers down, John -- the numbers of immigrants coming in are so high that it's almost impossible to manage the flow even through better intelligence.
MS. CLIFT: You've got to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We just saw that the immigrant population coming into this country has dropped by 20 percent.
We've got to get out. Exit. Multiple choice. Is Ashcroft casting his net, a) too broadly; b) just right; c) too narrowly? We're very late on time. Which one is it? A, b --
MR. BARONE: I'd say just about right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just about right?
MS. CLIFT: Always too broadly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Too broadly? When you agree with most of what he's done!
MS. CLIFT: The ones you put up there, but the ones you didn't put up there are the ones that concern me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't like TIPS, but TIPS was not even up there.
MR. STEIN: Way too narrowly. Way too narrowly.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think?
MR. STEIN: Oh, he's got to do much more. We've got six million (alien ?) illegals here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. CAMAROTA: A lot more needs to be done.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, too narrowly?
MR. CAMAROTA: In effect, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm with Barone. I think it's just about right.
Issue four: Economic concerns. Watch this!
FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD CHAIRMAN ALAN GREENSPAN: (From videotape.) A very important issue, which is not discussed often, is immigration. The increase in household formation in the United States is essentially about one-third immigration. The net effect of that has been a very buoyant element within the housing market.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is worried that the crackdown on immigration will have negative repercussions for the economy -- fewer new homes built; a smaller labor force.
MR. GREENSPAN: (From videotape.) We are dealing with a fact that a third of the increase in our labor force is coming from immigrants.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Local officials say that new immigration policies that keep out new immigrants or delay the visa process deprive the economy of needed labor. And some communities are reporting long waits for summer workers. That's bad, too. On the professional side, some rural communities are losing or not getting needed foreign doctors.
Also, the tourist economy has been hit by the new policies. In Florida, Governor Jeb Bush has criticized another new policy of brother George: namely, limiting certain foreign visitors to 30-day stays. Jeb calls the policy quote, unquote "unreasonable."
Another tourism point: Pre-9/11, the U.S. was the second most visited nation in the world just behind France. Now it is the third, behind France and Spain.
Question: Which has had a bigger impact on the economy -- listen closely -- high immigration rates or the arrival of domestic terrorism?
I ask you, Dan?
MR. STEIN: I'd say the World Trade Center bombing basically negated most of the immigration-related economic growth, if we had any, over the last 10 years.
MR. CAMAROTA: The National Academy of Sciences looked at this question a couple of years ago, estimated at most immigration contributes about $10 billion to the U.S. economy. And the damage from the Trade Center is estimated to be total 500 billion. That's 50 years of economic --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, you think Alan -- Alan Greenspan, his facts may be correct, but over all he's blowing smoke?
MR. CAMAROTA: Yeah. There's no serious study to show that immigration's a big net benefit.
MS. CLIFT: Well, that's --
MR. BARONE: John, I think that's a very static and short-sighted view. The fact is that we're talking about generations of new Americans that are going to be descended from these immigrants. One of the reasons that we're such a great country in the world today is because, unlike the Western European countries, we have substantial population growth. We have increases through immigration of -- (inaudible).
MR. STEIN: We also are overcrowded.
MR. BARONE: We are not overcrowded.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to build new schools.
MR. BARONE: We're living --
MR. STEIN: We're going to turn this country into an overpopulated parking lot with --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking finances. We're talking finances.
MR. BARONE: If you want to control everything and have the heavy hand of the state --
MR. STEIN: (Inaudible) -- border controls, Michael --
MR. BARONE: -- exert a control on who can live in this country and so forth --
MR. STEIN: -- just the borders.
MR. BARONE: -- the fact is it also contributes to our military power overseas. Immigrants and the children of immigrants are important sources of the voluntary military --
MR. STEIN: You can't prove that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We also have to build more prisons.
Exit question: What is in America's interest, to maintain population growth through high immigration, or to curb population by curbing immigration? One-word answer.
MR. BARONE: It's, number one, the American way, high population growth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?
MS. CLIFT: Immigrants built this country and they'll continue to contribute.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. STEIN: Curb population. The country's overcrowded.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. CAMAROTA: Immigration's adding 20 million people every decade. A little less would be a whole lot helpful for quality of life in the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's time to curb immigration.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Predictions, Michael Barone?
MR. BARONE: Immigration from Mexico will taper way off toward zero around 2015.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: Democrats and Republicans will be in a bidding war to see who can give a greater amnesty to Mexicans in the next session of Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dan Stein?
MR. STEIN: Unless the Republicans start getting tough on immigration, they're going to be politically extinct for the next 30 years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Steven Camarota?
MR. CAMAROTA: We're going to have another immigration gaffe and another big terrorist attack, but it's not clear Congress will even act.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Within two years, the Congress will legislate and the president will sign a law requiring a national biometric identity card for every American.
Don't forget, Labor Day weekend, the McLaughlin Group will take a full half-hour trip down memory lane, nostalgia clips from the past 20 years on television. Labor Day weekend. Bye-bye.
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PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Five: Welcome to Europe -- Not!
PIA KJAERGAARD (Danish People's Party): (From videotape.) They have quite another culture, religion, and they have no education. It's very difficult to integrate them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Them" refers to immigrants -- all immigrants seeking citizenship in Denmark. And it's not just Denmark that is exhibiting an anti-immigration, "us-versus-them" sentiment. That sentiment has swept across Europe, a reaction to rising crime, fear of violence, overcrowding and loss of traditional European society.
Item: Danish denial. The government of Denmark has passed tough new immigration measures, e.g. an asylum-seeker to Denmark is prohibited from marrying a Danish citizen until the said asylum-seeker becomes a citizen.
Item: English exclusivity. In Britain, a proposed law makes knowledge of English, Gaelic or Welsh mandatory for those applying for British citizenship. Also, get this, the children of asylum-seekers to Britain must be segregated in the classroom for six months from children already in British schools.
Item: Italian inspection. A new law in Italy, if enacted, will require all non-European Union immigrants to be fingerprinted in order to live in Italy.
Question: Why are so many European countries tightening up their immigration laws?
MS. CLIFT: Well, they feel they're being overrun by immigrants and their economies are slowing. And if you look at attitudes towards immigration, it tracks very closely unemployment. And if unemployment gets over 10 percent, which it is in many of these countries, people don't want any more outsiders coming in. I think it's a kind of a natural reaction. Plus, it's a response to terrorism. Some of the laws, the fingerprinting and so forth, I think is legitimate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Notice they're -- what they're tightening --
MS. CLIFT: But other reactions are really creepy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What they're tightening up are the asylum laws, because they have found that these asylum laws are being totally ravaged by people coming in. There is deception involved, and basically all one has to do is to reach Europe and there will be available to him a wealth of social benefits, notably in Great Britain. Is that true or false?
MR. CAMAROTA: No, and generally it's true. I mean, Britain does have the more generous asylum laws and it gets a whole lot more asylum seekers because of it.
MR. BARONE: They wait -- yeah, they wait in France to go through the Chunnel to get on to England, John. I think one of the problems that Europe is having here is that they don't have the tradition that Americans have that we're in some danger of losing, but I think it's still a vibrant tradition, of assimilating newcomers.
We welcome new immigrants, but we have also Americanized them. Now, some on the left elite in the media and corporate university circles don't like the sound of assimilating and Americanizing them, but, in fact, if we don't ask people and move them towards learning the English language, towards learning about our civic culture and our political rights, we are denying them the ability to move forward in this country.
The Europeans have a weaker tradition on that, and they've also got more of these Muslim immigrants who take their culture there and insist on applying it to the point of actually rape of women, and they say, "Well, the Norwegian women are provocative, so we have a right to rape them." You can't have that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The assimilation point is a valid point, but I think your point is that you could be -- the numbers could be such that those who are being assimilated are so great that they will seize the right and they will seize from those who are natives or live or are citizens in the area -- they will seize the rights that they have earned and the execution of those rights. Is that true?
MR. STEIN: Well, they're taking advantage of an open-ended asylum system and the best notions of Western civilization and turning it on its head through massive fraud and abuse. A country is more than a hotel, has the right to control its borders, and all they're trying to do is assert their basic right to control their destiny.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you add to that in about five seconds?
MR. CAMAROTA: I don't think so.