Editor’s Note: Don’t let terror fuel nativism

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

The knee-jerk response by the anti-immigration crowd to the jihadist attacks in Brussels is that Donald Trump is right in his “No Muslims allowed” position.

Acolytes of the Republican presidential front-runner, who has proposed banning not just Muslim immigrants but Muslim travelers from entering the United States, were pushing their nativist fear mongering.

This newspaper was called out for its Tuesday editorial urging the U.S. to keep the door open to refugees from Syria and elsewhere. Despite the hysteria of our critics, we stand by that position.

America has welcomed thousands of Muslim immigrants and refugees since the September 11 attacks. Only four have been implicated in terror plots, and only one — Tashfeen Malik, a Pakistani immigrant who was joined by her American husband in carrying out the mass shooting last fall in San Bernardino, California — was successful.

Certainly, the heightened terror threat from the Islamic State mandates much more rigorous screening of immigrants from the Middle East, and stronger monitoring and assimilation programs once they get here.

But the response to Brussels should not be to allow our worst instincts to prevail. Shutting the border to immigrants and refugees will not keep America safe. ISIS is a determined enemy that will find ways through the cracks, no matter how tightly we think we’ve sealed them.

The only answer is a much stronger commitment from the United States, Europe and the rest of the free world to destroy ISIS where it lives.