For all but two years1 of the entire history of the United States of America, new citizens have sworn an Oath of Allegiance. But an important ingredient in the oath is being stricken by the Administration. No more will immigrants have to promise to be willing to bear arms for the United States; they now will have an opt-out based, not even on religious belief, but any kind of inchoate and general “feels.” Like Abdulazeez here, maybe they want to bear arms against Americans? That’s fine!
Now, because Congress has delegated them the authority to do this, it’s perfectly legal even if it’s not especially smart. Legally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services is allowed to change the oath, as long as the “five principles” outlined in Section 337(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are adhered to. Being as the principles are:
- Allegiance to the Constitution;
- Renunciation of any foreign allegiances;
- Defense of the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic;
- Willingness to bear arms in the Armed Forces;
- Willingness to do civilian duties of national importance.
The Willingness to Bear Arms clause should stay in. But the CIS is now changing the clause, to streamline the path to citizenship of those preferred immigrants who not only don’t want to bear arms for the United States but are interested in bearing arms against.
A new provision allows the would-be Americans to opt out of defending their fellow Americans if they have any reason not to want to.
The Legal History of the Bearing Arms Clause
In 1929, the Supreme Court ruled that pacifism was no justification for refusing the oath.
In 1950, the McCarran Act (much of which was subsequently found unconstitutional or repealed, but the rump of which is still used by Army lawyers to support the disarmament of off-duty soldiers) added the bearing arms lines as mandatory.
In 1953, their presence aborted the application for citizenship of British writer Aldous Huxley. Huxley, a wealthy Hollywood screenwriter, was oriented more towards a state socialism like that of the Soviet Union, but not enough that he ever considered living there.
Well, have we ever had an Administration more hostile to arms, or to the bearing of them, in defense of the country? Or one who seems to value immigrants inversely to the benefits they bring to us, and proportionately to the crime, violence, and treachery that they come a-bearing?
It’s not as if the nation is so hard up for people that we need to admit more unassimilable, truculent, hostile persons. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would be a credit to our country waiting patiently in the 200 countries of the world, but we seem intent on ingesting human pathogens rather than sources of societal strength.
USCIS sent a policy guide on 21 Jan 2015 (.pdf) to all hands that explains wordily:
In general, a naturalization applicant must take an oath of allegiance in a public ceremony, in addition to meeting other eligibility requirements, in order to naturalize. The oath includes the clauses to bear arms on behalf of the United States and to perform noncombatant service in the U.S. armed forces when required by law. An applicant may be eligible for certain modifications to the oath to exclude the clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection. This guidance updates Volume 12 of the Policy Manual to clarify the eligibility requirements for the modifications.
when an applicant is unwilling or unable to affirm to all clauses of the oath… [he or she] may be eligible for modifications… [and] …is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief…
And the corker… an applicant who wants can provide evidence supporting his or her unwillingness to swear to defend the USA, but…
is not required to provide… evidence to establish eligibility
In other words, it’s Washington’s favorite word, an entitlement for anyone desiring to be an asp at Lady Liberty’s breast.
So, get ready to welcome lots of new citizens… whose loyalty is to something, anything, other than the United States.
Sure, hostiles could always lie and get naturalized (which may explain the Abdulazeez family and their celebrity son), but now they don’t even need to hide their contempt and hostility for our nation.
This will end well.
- The first recorded Oath of Allegiance was given to foreign-born soldiers in and camp-followers of the Continental Army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on 30 May 78. (That’s 1778). The first Naturalization Law came 12 years later, in 1790.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Washington, n.d. Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. Retrieved from: http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-allegiance-united-states-america
USCIS. Policy Alert: Modifications to Oath of Allegiance for Naturalization. Washington, 21 July 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/Updates/20150721-OathModifications.pdf