The Obama administration has cleared the way for new U.S. citizens to decline that part of their oath which requires them to fight, when called upon, for their country.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which processes naturalization cases for future citizens, announced this week that it is implementing something akin to a conscientious objector exemption for those who wish to omit a pledge of military service from their oath.
The relevant portion of the oath reads, “I hereby declare, on oath … that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law …”
Until now, the policy had always been to allow for a “waiver or modification of the Oath of Allegiance” if a new citizen has a verifiable religious basis for objecting:
If you are unable or unwilling to promise to bear arms or perform noncombatant service because of religious training and belief, you may request to leave out those parts of the oath. USCIS may require you to provide documentation from your religious organization explaining its beliefs and stating that you are a member in good standing.