Woman denied citizenship because objection to war based on secular, not religious, values

A California woman applying for U.S. citizenship had her application denied because immigration officials refused to recognize her secular beliefs.

Adriana Ramirez claimed she objected to the pledge to bear arms due to her sincerely held moral convictions, but her conscientious objector status was rejected because it was not based on religious belief.

Attorneys from the American Humanist Association (AHA) said immigration officials violated constitutional protections in denying the application

“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,” wrote attorney Monica Miller, of AHA. “Denying Ms. Ramirez’s citizenship on the grounds that her secular moral beliefs are not ‘religious’ is unconstitutional.”

Miller said there was no legal basis to deny a citizenship to applicants because their ethical values are secular.

“The letter is meant to clarify the mistake being made by officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’s San Diego office so that the application process can move forward,” Miller said.

Applicants are allowed during the citizenship process to express their moral, ethical, or religious objection to warfare, which makes the pledge to “bear arms” an optional part of the oath of loyalty taken by those whose citizenship applications are approved.

AHA helped a Texas woman get her citizenship application approved in June under similar circumstances.

[Image: This is an image of a business woman pledging with her hand on chest via Shutterstock]