North Carolina readers of this blog may remember a recent story about a woman who was denied citizenship because she objected to fighting for the United States during wartime but did not have religious reasons for doing so. The woman initially faced immigration discrimination for her beliefs. Officials have since changed their position and have granted her citizenship application.
The woman would not sign a pledge that said she would be willing to bear arms to defend the United States. She said to do so would go against everything she believes in. She explained that her moral convictions were directly opposed to condoning the violent resolution of differences between countries. Officials with the Citizenship Immigration Service then refused to allow her citizenship because they said her actions were not based on religious beliefs or training.
The woman's case gained the attention of a non-profit organization, the American Humanist Association. The group's website says its mission is to advance humanism. The humanist philosophy promotes the ethical treatment of others without using theism or any other supernatural beliefs as justification or motivation.
The organization wrote a letter to immigration officials that challenged their decision. They said that to deny the woman's claim was an unacceptable act. They claimed the Constitution offered protection for secular as well as religious beliefs.
Immigration officials presumably had a change of heart about their decision. The woman recently received notice that her immigration discrimination on this issue had ended and she was asked to attend a citizenship ceremony. Immigrants with similar beliefs, whether in North Carolina or elsewhere, could find their quest for citizenship is now a little easier to accomplish.
Source: Fox News Latino, Conscientious Objector Initially Denied U.S. Citizenship Is Now An American, Elizabeth Llorente, March 20, 2014