Why Moroccan-born author Laila Lalami calls her US citizenship ‘conditional’

“All the passports look the same, but not everybody looks the same to the border agents,” says author Laila Lalami, who was born in Morocco and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House.

Millions of people in the United States are citizens on paper. They’ve waited their turn, taken the test, and sworn the oath. But in practice, their patriotism, place and purpose in this country are questioned. Author Laila Lalami explores identity and belonging in her new memoir, “Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America.”