On April 25, 2013, I took the oath to become a citizen of the United States. Perhaps only those who have taken this oath can fully understand how I felt that afternoon in Boston. I felt a strong sense of belonging, and tears welled up in my eyes more than a few times during the hourlong ceremony.
I have no reason to doubt that the 1,834 other men and women who took the oath with me also felt that special sense of homecoming. On that sunny afternoon, it seemed unreal that just 10 days earlier, another new citizen of this country had taken up arms against it—against us—in the very same city.
As the whole world now knows, that new U.S. citizen was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, only 19 years old. He had taken the oath just seven months earlier—on Sept. 11, in fact, a grim irony whose lessons we are still struggling to learn. His alleged partner in crime and mentor was his elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who himself had applied for citizenship and was well into the process, awaiting approval and the invitation to take the same precious oath.
That approval and invitation would surely have come, because Americans—we Americans—are a generous people. And yet, strangely, today’s debate about immigration reform has little to do with keeping out people like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The Tsarnaev brothers are emblematic of the divided loyalties of our times—and they are not the only ones. Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani national, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived the American dream: He arrived on a student visa, married an American citizen, graduated from college, worked his way up the corporate ladder to become a junior financial analyst for a cosmetics company in Connecticut, became a naturalized citizen at the age of 30 and then, a year later, in 2010, tried to blow up as many of his fellow citizens as possible in a failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square.
Read more: WSJ.com