Up until now, new U.S. citizens have had to take an oath at their naturalization ceremonies pledging to bear arms or perform noncombatant military service when required by law.
This week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a modification to the "Oath of Allegiance" allowing new citizens to opt out of the two clauses (one for bearing arms and the other for noncombatant military service) based on religion or conscientious objection.
That modification did not sit well with U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who has emailed other members of Congress asking them to sign on to a letter opposing the new policy, which the Miami Republican called "misguided." Two other Republicans, Diane Black of Tennessee and David Valadao California, have already signed on. Curbelo's parents immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba.
"As Members of Congress, it is our belief that the current Oath of Allegiance respects those new citizens’ religious beliefs by including the option to perform 'noncombatant services in the Armed Services,'" says the letter, addressed to Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez.
"Allowing for individuals to be exempt from reciting these guidelines of the Oath based off moral objections is cause for grave concern and could set a bad precedent. Defending our country when needed should remain a duty for all citizens. Making it option would diminish the allegiance that all citizens should have for our nation."
Read the text of the letter below: