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They were educated, having accepted the availability of public schooling.

They even took advantage of that teenage right of passage and became licensed drivers.

And, hey, for all we know at this juncture, our tax dollars are paying for excellent medical care at a Boston hospital.

Oh, yeah. They figured out how to “settle themselves” all right right down to wearing the ordinary, everyday apparel to blend into the throngs of folks at the marathon.

It is indeed time to reform our immigration laws, but let’s make sure we don’t consider quotas, gender or other such nonsense, including whether the immigration applicant is a “dark-skinned male.”

While it’s certainly appropriate and important that we know whether immigrants are aware of our history, laws and culture, it’s also vitally important to seek out who they are and where they are headed, not just where they are coming from.

The Boston bombing case highlights the problem that the current pathway to American citizenship and the one playing out in the halls of Congress fail to address what could happen.

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, hatred is a powerful emotion and motivator.

The horrors of what happened in Boston are indeed a wake-up call and the alarm will stop only when our immigration laws allow us to dig as deeply as possible before we lay out new welcome mats.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at