The Price of Citizenship
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The institution of citizenship is the prize of formal belonging for immigrant rights SMOs. “Civic-economic participation” justifies a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. Because they work hard and contribute, these deserving de facto Americans cross a symbolic boundary that should shift to accommodate them and grant them legal status. The immigration control side believes that maintaining a firm boundary around citizenship will help prevent the problems “illegal aliens” bring. The “consequences of amnesty” are constructed through constant itemization of all the “costs” of “illegal” immigration. Because citizenship has a “price” that is largely economic, both sides marshal statistics to buttress their arguments. The bottom line, however, is that citizenship must be earned—alongside its legal aspects, it is a profoundly moral category of belonging.
KeywordsIllegal Immigration Undocumented Immigrant Immigrant Worker American Immigration Boundary Work
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