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California resident applying for U.S. citizenship denied because she is an atheist

Adriana Ramirez is a “conscientious objector” who will not bear arms for the United States, and she's also nonreligious.
By Evan Bleier   |   Feb. 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM   |   Comments

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SAN DIEGO, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A legal immigrant living in California was denied U.S. citizenship after she identified herself as a “conscientious objector” who will not bear arms for the United States because of her religious beliefs, or lack thereof, in her application.

The application was rejected by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on the grounds that Adriana Ramiez’s unwillingness to bear arms “is not based on religious training or belief.”

Here is exactly what Ramirez wrote in a notarized statement in support of her application:

“As a woman in my mid-30’s, I understand that it is unlikely that I will ever be asked to take up arms to defend this country. I could have easily checked ‘yes’, sealed the envelope, and sent it out. But checking ‘yes’ on Q36-38 would be a betrayal of everything I have stood for from a very early age. I have strong and sincere moral convictions against arms and killing people.”

The American Humanist Association has taken up Ramirez’s cause and will represent her in the appeal.

“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,” the AHA wrote in a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials. “Denying Ms. Ramirez’s citizenship on the grounds that her secular moral beliefs are not ‘religious’ is unconstitutional.”

The AHA is seeking that the decision immediately be reversed.

“There is no legal basis to deny a citizenship application because one’s ethical values are secular,” said AHA attorney Monica Miller. “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.”


[American Humanist Association]

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