Foiling Terrorists by Keeping Them Out

The Washington Post's Sunday front-page story tells a lot of details about how the FBI kept Portland, Oregonians safe from an immigrant Muslim extremist with homicide bombing on his mind. And, certainly, thank God the G-men were successful in this fascinating and frightful case.

But the underreported facts have to do with how this traitor, whom the United States had apparently taken at his word when he willingly swore patriotic allegiance, ended up living in America. Apparently, his vision of "the American dream" differs from what native-born Americans envision and assume (to the country's peril) immigrants seek.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud reportedly was born in Somalia. He has lived in Oregon, having graduated from high school there. He became an American citizen by naturalization (he went through a process and swore the citizenship oath). He is 19 and attended Oregon State University the past year.

Chillingly, Mohamud "became radicalized at age 15" while growing up as part of "Portland's fast-growing Somali population." He intended to turn a festive, family-oriented gathering into a bloody pool, littered with dead and wounded innocent Americans, including women and children.

One report quoted someone who knew him in school: "The main thing was, the way he said he hated Americans," said Andy Stull. "It was serious. He looked me in the eye and had this look in his eye, like it was his determination in life – 'I hate Americans!'"

Anybody fixated on building and detonating a bomb big enough to kill a large crowd at a Christmas tree lighting right downtown in an American city is a criminal sociopath. Enough sociopaths spring forth organically. We certainly don't need to import more. Nor do we need to keep on feeding the petri dishes that stimulate radicalism. Yet that is what legal immigration on the scale we now sustain does. Whether it's continually fostering political and cultural ties to the old countries of Latin America or of Muslim nations, the assimilation ideal cannot be achieved with mass immigration. The perpetuation of one million-plus legal immigrants year in and year out foils the melting pot.

And if we were serious about keeping out those who harbor hatred toward the United States, we would reinstitute ideological exclusion. This policy could easily bar radical Islamic imams, who spew anti-Americanism and foster radicalization in the name of Islam. It could block the immigration of people who are predisposed by their political beliefs to work toward the overthrow of the United States from within.

If America doesn't get control over immigration, pare back the number of visas issued annually, and elevate the level of scrutiny that would-be immigrants and naturalization prospects undergo, then constitutionally questionable, stupid policies like TSA's offensive airport gropings of innocent Americans may soon become the least of our worries.