AHA News |  

Secular Conscientious Objector’s Citizenship to Move Forward

U.S. Citizenship reverses decision to deny nontheist’s citizenship application

For Immediate Release

Contact: Maggie Ardiente, mardiente@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 116
Monica Miller, mmiller@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 120

(San Diego, CA, March 19, 2014) —U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials reversed their decision to deny a California resident citizenship status due to her secular beliefs.

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center represented Adriana Ramirez in her appeal after her application was denied because she, as a nontheistic conscientious objector, refused to “bear arms” in defense of the United States. Ramirez received a letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials stating that her application has been accepted and providing information on attending a naturalization ceremony.

“We’re pleased that officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services corrected this mistake, but we hope this won’t happen again in the future,” said Monica Miller, attorney for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “People cannot be denied citizenship simply because their moral values are secular.”

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials in San Diego, CA on behalf of Ramirez on February 27, 2014, which stated, “Given the Supreme Court’s unequivocal instruction that, to be consistent with the Constitution, the government must interpret a statute permitting conscientious objection on the basis of ‘religious’ belief to include comparable secular moral views, denying Ms. Ramirez’s citizenship on the grounds that her secular moral beliefs are not ‘religious’ is unconstitutional.”

In June 2013, the American Humanist Association was successful in a nearly identical case. On behalf of Margaret Doughty, a similar letter was sent by the Appignani Humanist Legal Center to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials in Texas outlining the Supreme Court rulings that require the government to treat secular and religious conscientious objectors alike. Shortly after the letter was received, Ms. Doughty’s citizenship application was approved.

During the citizenship process, applicants are allowed to express moral, ethical, or religious objections to warfare, making the promise to “bear arms” an optional part of the oath of loyalty taken by those approved for citizenship.


###

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington D.C., its work is extended through more than 170 local chapters and affiliates across the United States. Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and The Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms a responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

American Humanist Association

Yet again, Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down a movie we love! Neil, your'e are su...

5 hours ago

American Humanist Association

We all have a "dark side" but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Psychologist...

6 hours ago

American Humanist Association

UCoR proudly announces the official launch of the Rhode Island CoR with a bus ad...

10 hours ago

American Humanist Association

It is wonderful to see so many skeptics, atheists, humanists, and non-theists co...

11 hours ago

American Humanist Association

How the AHA and local Colorado humanists helped to defeat the anti-choice person...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Suspended for a week for defending evolution? That is a bit of an over-reaction...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

What if you could win $1,000 for telling the world what is important to you? Al...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Things that make you go hmmm....

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a cool new Kickstarter campaign to create a children's book for non-bel...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA board member Howard Katz is at Skepticon representing! Make sure to stop by...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

December 2nd is Giving Tuesday. This holiday season, while you are buying gifts...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, It's our favorite science guy! Clay Farris Naff talks with past AHA humanis...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who is ready for Skepticon 2014?! If you are attending the event, make sure to s...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today we remember transgenders...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Many people don't believe that a person can be good without a god. What are thos...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Yesterday, AHA's David Niose presented his argument that the phrase "under God"...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

A Congressional hearing on religious accommodations in the armed services is hap...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today a judge will hear the arguments of Dave Niose, representing the AHA, in a...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Last week Indra Zuno delivered her secular invocation at the LA County Board mee...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The United Coalition of Reason is crushing the billboard game with billboards up...

6 days ago