Pathway to Citizenship


2013-07-16 — Pending now in Congress is an immigration bill. A big issue in the bill is the so-called “pathway to citizenship.” I am in favor of such a pathway. I don’t know why we want to keep people living in our midst who don’t have full rights and opportunities. But it’s not just aliens who lack these rights and opportunities.

Saturday’s Zimmerman verdict should make this very clear.

And it’s not just the stand-your-ground laws that are wrong. It’s also the institutional violence that is committed against young black men. The arrests. The incarceration. The official hassling.

But let’s be honest, there is a reasonable fear of black young men. The lack of opportunity, the despair bring out violence. Violence that ironically is most suffered by their own communities.

To “protect” us from illegal immigration, this country has built a wall and the immigration bill would strengthen that wall.

There is also a wall to protect us from young black men. A key portion of that wall is our system of drug laws. This system channels young black men into a life of crime and violence. They go to prison and literally live behind a wall.

If the social conditions in their communities didn’t already make it difficult to achieve full citizenship, time in the criminal justice system makes it hopeless. This leaves many with no alternatives.

So, if we are going to create a path to citizenship for those among us who are foreign born, I would say that we should also create a path to citizenship for those among us who are native born. And I would start (but not end) with a repeal of drug crimes.

Next time, I will write about a third path to citizenship: a path for poor whites.

If you have any comments, please leave them below.

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