SIMMONS: Immigration law must delve into the shadows

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Here’s serious food for thought about the immigration reform debate.

Sometimes, particularly in the midst of horrifying and dramatic events, it is important to listen to what is and what is not being said when making striking comparisons.

The unending reaction to the Boston Marathon bombing is one such case.

Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the suspected plotters who lives in Montgomery Village, called both nephews “losers” who were “unable to settle themselves” and “hating everyone who did.”

A typical reaction to such comments might have led one to think he meant the young men were unemployed or unemployable, or that they were Joe Sixpack or deadbeat dads, and if you reside in a crime-plagued urban hub say Baltimore, Chicago, New York or the District you easily could have misinterpreted his characterization as young men hellbent on living a thug life.

The operative words spoken by Mr. Tsarni were “unable to settle themselves” and “hating everyone who did.”

Those young men were afforded more legal rights and privileges than many Americans born right here on U.S. soil, including ex-felons or returning citizens, as they prefer to be called who are often unable to resettle themselves because law forbids them from returning to their family or childhood homes, or their pre-prison careers.

When in search of a job, their employment applications are often tossed in the trash.

Assimilation, or “settling in,” is hardest for those who have been locked up for several years, and for those imprisoned for decades it can lead toward the revolving door, where walking the straight and narrow is easier.

The Tsarnaev brothers obviously felt confined by our way of life but refused to be institutionalized, if you will, by the West.

Like men and women behind bars, they knew their gender, race and ethnicity would remain the same regardless of their geographical location. Yet unlike most American inmates, the Tsarnaev brothers hated even those people who were like them and were unwilling to do whatever it took to integrate themselves.

They wanted for themselves what we, Americans, freely hand out, though.

They were immigrants, and they pursued U.S. citizenship.

They were not treated as being unworthy. They had U.S. voting rights, while many former felons do not.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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