In New York, some adopted children are being sworn in as American citizens at an exceptionally American place: a mall.

They returned to their seats clutching their certificates of naturalization, government documents that declare in the poetry of bureaucracy one's bond to this land. Cherished pieces of paper, they say: I came from there, and now I am here.

The children were also clutching gift bags, courtesy of the mall. Along with those sacred certificates, they received a small teddy bear, a plastic cup, a noisemaker, free soap from one of the stores and two coupons. One coupon offered 20 percent off fashion accessories, and the other offered "hot" summer tank tops, two for $20, or four for $30.


When I think citizenship, I think hot tanktops

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for women's button-tab Capris.

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