Naturalization and citizenship are the maximum benefits offered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and they often culminate with a ceremony and the Oath of Allegiance, which is the recital of a commitment to assume certain patriotic responsibilities.
Until recently, the Oath of Allegiance that immigrants recited as they became naturalized citizens left them open to compulsory and bellicose military service when required by law. For many decades, the naturalization ceremony served as an unofficial augmentation of the ranks of Selective Service by virtue of promises to bear arms on behalf of the country and to serve as a non-combatant in a military service. As of late July 2015, however, the stipulations of the Oath of Allegiance have been relaxed to a certain extent.
Now, immigrants who are on the path to U.S. citizenship can request specific modifications to the Oath of Allegiance prior to the recital. Just like citizens who are born in the U.S. can be excused from military service on religious conviction grounds, naturalized citizens can also be exempted if their spiritual or ethical philosophies prevent them from taking up arms.
The new Oath of Allegiance does not have to be recited in a way that it becomes a pledge to join the military in time of war. This is certainly good news for immigrants whose beliefs are based on a firm commitment to non-violence. The promise to bear arms can be skipped as well as the part about performing non-combatant military service if the applicant to naturalization does not want to serve as a medic or as a cook in the armed forces.
This modification to the Oath of Allegiance is part on an initiative by the White House to welcome immigrants and refugees by means of true integration. The Task Force on New Americans, a group encompassing 16 federal agencies and offices, has been instrumental with regard to encouraging the more than 40 million immigrants in the U.S. to follow the path to legal residence and naturalization. The Task Force believes that efforts such as modifying the Oath of Allegiance can help to convince immigrants to apply for naturalization benefits.
Immigrants who would like to make arrangements to modify their Oaths of Allegiance should inquire with their legal immigration professionals about the process. If you haven’t attained an immigration lawyer in San Diego yet, reach out to KS Visa Law, a free consultation immigration lawyer in San Diego. We can ensure all proper paperwork is complete and submitted as required and guide you through the naturalization process.