Of course we should let in the refugees from the east. America is a refuge. If she is not Mother of Exiles, she is nothing.
We benefit tremendously from allowing in the wretched refuse. Wretched refuse have built our nation in her beauty, have enriched our nation's culture, have covered themselves in glory defending our freedoms. And in every case, there were good reasons to bar the door. Imagine if Italians had been turned away because some fraction of them were in the Cosa Nostra. It was true; Italian immigration did bring with it the problem of the mafia. But America has managed to deal with that problem. It's not a fun problem; it would be nice if there were no mafia. But the benefits were worth the cost. America grows and changes or she dies.
Islamic immigration does bring with it unique problems. This is an extraordinarily dangerous religious movement that encourages insularity; is riddled with bigotry, superstition, and violence. As this excellent article makes clear, it would be suicidal to allow a wave of Islamic immigration without making efforts to integrate that population; to acculturate it to freedom; to police it and put a stop to such practices as the abuse of women, the lust for violence, the hostility to civilization. The Golden Door should be open--but people must be expected to behave themselves once inside. We cannot allow "no go zones" to appear in the United States.
Of course, there are likely to be some infiltrators among the refugees who will commit acts of violence. That's what happens in a war. Americans--or, rather, their political leaders--have persuaded themselves that we aren't at war. But it is nonetheless a fact. Are Americans able and willing to take that risk? I would hope so.
For one thing, we need the intel from those who do come in good faith. These people are likely to be far more effective agents of counterterrorism in the United States than are native-born Americans, because they're already members of that community. They know the language and the people. They might be good recruits to fight ISIS abroad, too. America has often benefitted from victims of tyranny who came here to fight their former oppressors. And, again, we are the land of opportunity, freedom, and promise. Either we mean that, or we don't. If we stop meaning it--if we mean to pull up the ladder and let the victims of tyranny drown--then we are no longer worthy to prevail. We will have at last betrayed ourselves, and proven ourselves no better than the ancient world with its storied pomp.
I for one am not afraid. "I believe this...the strongest Government on earth," said Thomas Jefferson. "I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern." I share that confidence in Americans' love of their Constitution and of their freedom. Obviously there are some fools out there, particularly on college campuses, but by and large, Americans are more than willing to defend themselves against the onslaught of Islamic fascism, and make good on the commitment of--among many others--the passengers of Flight 93. In fact, Americans have already proven repeatedly that they are up to that task. Remember what happened to the Shoe Bomber? The passengers beat the shit out of him. A bunch of Syrian immigrants in Houston would be on their best behavior. Even if the refugees do include some spies, nothing can defeat us in this war but ourselves. That's not a sound bite. It's a fact.
I understand the fear. We have no confidence that our liberal fellow citizens actually want to win this war; since almost the morning of September 12th, they've proven themselves unwilling. But that, too, is always part of any war. And we cannot allow our neighbors' cravenness to sap our own resolve.
Obviously we should take whatever steps we can to protect ourselves, to screen out people not actually coming here to pursue a life in safety and freedom. Obviously any screening process is likely to fail at least once. But fear is not a strategy. We have two options: we build a wall between us and the world, or we win this war. I favor the latter. There is no way evil wins this conflict unless we let it. And we let it by slamming the Golden Door shut, pretending we are not at war, and fearing our fellow citizens instead of resolving to fight evil side-by-side.
Update: In answer to several Facebook comments, I will repeat: We should allow them in, even knowing that there will certainly be at least one serious terrorist attack as a direct result. This is a war. Safety cannot be our highest priority; victory must be. Americans will certainly prevail if ISIS tries to send spies among the refugees. If we can't win in such a confrontation, then we are already too feeble to deserve success. I don't think we are that fragile. Let the evil come: that will only make it easier to destroy. In the interim, we must do what we can to shelter our fellow human beings. How can the nation that saved the refuseniks do any less? In war, you don't leave others behind; you give hem shelter--and then you enlist them.