To the Editor:
It was inevitable that within a few days of the Paris attacks, certain governors and others would react by advocating the exclusion of Syrian refugees to our nation and to our city. The fears of agents or "sleeper cells'' are certainly warranted but there is a far greater probability that the tens of thousands of Syrians who fled conflict are simply looking for a safer and better life. A knee-jerk reaction to exclude these poor refugees is similar to the response of some to Germans around the time of World War I and our awful history with the Japanese internment on the West Coast in World War II.
It is very understandable to be scared and suspicious at this tragic time but we cannot let fear dominate our need to reach out in human response as other nations of the world respond to the plight of so many displaced persons. Security is extremely important and it is critical to investigate and that those who would come to our shores and to our city be as well-screened as possible. But we cannot shut those doors without a huge loss to our own humanity and overall sense of what it means to be an American and open-minded people.