Jewish World Review Dec. 4, 2001 / 19 Kislev, 5762

Stanley Crouch

Amity Shlaes
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Tightening our immigration policies is cruel? -- OSAMA Bin Laden and his terrorist mob have awakened everyone to the tragic vulnerability of a free society. We now know that America has been caught up in a romance about immigrants - the assumption that if you came to this country, you wanted to become part of it.

The 1993 attempt to topple the World Trade Center and the later plot to blow up the Holland Tunnel and other landmarks failed to alert us to a change in the nature of immigrant attitudes among some who arrived here from hostile Muslim countries. We have been afraid even to suggest that we might do well to rethink how we handled such immigration. We still are, for fear of hearing about the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans, anti-Semitic Nazi police and anti-black racism. In short, our better judgment has been held hostage by the darker sides of history here and in Europe.

People seem, however, to have forgotten that there is nothing in the Constitution that says people in foreign countries have the absolute right to immigrate into America. People also forget that, unlike totalitarian countries where rights removed remain removed, our country always reins itself back in. We always get it back together and return to normal.

We should never take any emergency measures lightly, especially if they involve our remarkably expansive civil liberties. We should never forget that those willing to defend those liberties are of inarguable importance to our national discourse.

But we also need to hear other points of view. We were too smug for too long, too unwilling to understand what all adults should know, namely this: Terrorist problems do not just go away because a few people are captured.

It should no longer be easy to immigrate into this country from a hostile land. We should not be bullied into opening our gates and risking the lives of thousands just because many will become upset if we change our policy and scrutinize more closely the immigrants we allow in.

I have heard Arab students argue that the most dangerous terrorist would eat pork, get drunk, even use drugs, if that allowed him to dissolve into America. And? It should be very hard for him to cross our borders, too.

One might argue that Sicilians, Russian Jews, Asians and West Indians had gangsters among them. That's still different. Like Islamic terrorists, the gangsters were a very small minority among their people, not at all representative. Unlike terrorists, however, their wish was to become criminally successful in this country, not murder thousands.

That is how it is. Once we face that fact, our policies will not be cruel --- they will express the kind of enlightenment that the smell of burning flesh on Sept. 11 made easily available.

JWR contributor and cultural icon Stanley Crouch is a columnist for The New York Daily News. He is the author of, among others, The All-American Skin Game, Or, the Decoy of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994,       Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives, and Don't the Moon Look Lonesome: A Novel in Blues and Swing. Send your comments by clicking here.


11/29/01: Modern-day abolitionists need help
11/27/01: bin Laden has exposed hard truths
11/20/01: Facing the hard truth about Africa & slavery
11/13/01: Let military run security for air travel
10/23/01: The media, where threats to flesh and blood have little meaning
10/17/01: Red, White Blue, black and white
10/11/01: We stand armed with compassion
10/05/01: Drawing the line on racial profiling
09/14/01: Let's rise above worst instincts
09/07/01: HBO's now big shaper of culture
08/21/01: Is Sharpton a changed man?
08/03/01: A writer misuses the great Louis Armstrong
07/20/01: When murder is justified
07/06/01: America's democracy has a music to it
06/29/01: The soul and pluck of women are to this nation's development
06/22/01: This history is music to my ears
06/08/01: A School Succeeds, A Union Fails
06/05/01: Sharpton's rise and fall
05/25/01: Third World Unity? Sorry, It's Just a Dream
04/13/01: Two murderers, two twisted fantasies
04/06/01: The problem with art is artists
03/16/01: Bush still has some pretty serious image problems he better address ASAP
03/09/01: Of gangsters, gangstas --- and spin

© 2001, NY Daily News