Another Immigrant Denied for Religious Reasons

Remember the case of Margaret Doughty, the woman initially denied U.S. citizenship because her reasons for not pledging to defend the country were secular rather than religious? Now we have an identical case and the American Humanist Association is once again intervening on her behalf:

A California resident applying for U.S. citizenship has had her application denied because immigration officials did not accept as valid a conscientious objector, declaration to “bear arms” in defense of the U.S. because it is secular in nature. The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center is representing Adriana Ramirez in her appeal.

In a letter dated Feb. 27, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials in San Diego, CA were informed that their decision is not supported by the law and should immediately be reversed. “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 letter states, “denying Ms. Ramirez’s citizenship on the grounds that her secular moral beliefs are not ‘religious’ is unconstitutional.”

“There is no legal basis to deny a citizenship application because one’s ethical values are secular,” said Appignani Legal Center 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.”

In the Doughty case, such a letter resulted in an immediate change of decision. I hope the same thing happens here.

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  • lancifer

    Oh, fer Christ’s sake, what kind of nimrod denied her citizenship based on this idiocy?

    A religious one no doubt.

    The process to become naturalized is pathetically simple (at least the test and crap at the end) and whole auditoriums of people are “sworn in” at once. Hell, since all you have to do to be a “natural born” citizen is slide out of the birth canal and fall on US territory I don’t see much reason to put anyone through much at the end of the process for naturalization.

    Open those borders! Look for known criminals (including so called “terrorists”) and then hand everybody else a little flag.


    Now, get to work.

  • lancifer

    How conscription is even constitutional is also a joke.

  • lancifer

    While I’m railing against anti-secular xenophobia…

    A young woman I know (Ethiopian by birth) is about to give birth to a tiny American citizen today. The mother obtained her citizenship through a sham marriage to a friend who married her cousin in a sham marriage “swap”. Her baby will be spared all of this nonsense simply by virtue of plopping out in a hospital in Indiana.

    Most of the African immigrants I know either won the “diversity lottery” or married a relative or a friend, or a friend of a relative or a relative of a friend. Of these people none of them (that I know of) is on welfare or a criminal.

    Think of all the wasted time and money that they have spent in this fraudulent paper chase. Then think of all of the tax money spent to pay the INS people that had to process all of that nonsense.

    Let’s stop this stupidity.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ lancifer : Marrying relatives? Is that really such a good thing? Hopefully not too closely related!

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    PS. I guess it could be worse – the way asylum seeking refugees get treated in my country (Oz) is truly shameful – locked up in concentration camps on some third world island or two .. :-(

    But yes, this situation stinks.

  • lancifer


    ” Marrying relatives?”

    The “relatives” are third and fourth cousins. Mostly they marry the relatives of the people that are marrying their relatives in a “swap” arrangement, “I’ll marry your brother Yacob if you marry my sister Ruta.”

    Then when Yacob and Ruta become citizens they get divorced and the process begins again.

    And, since the marriages are “sham” marriages, there is no actual exchange of DNA going on.

    Some of these folks have done it three and four times.

  • haitied

    On the other hand, My cousin fell in love with and later married her husband from Ghana. However, since he was an undocumented immigrant (employed, tax paying) before the marriage and despite hiring an attorney to fight on his behalf, he still is not a citizen, never mind is in serious fear of deportation still. . .

  • dingojack

    So once you prove your pacifism is genuine enough* to get citizenship then you can discriminate against everyone you dislike ‘tehgheyz’ as long as you have ‘genuine religious beliefs’**, that’s how it works in America right?



    * to our exacting bureaucratic standards (we’re just not gonna tell you what they are)

    ** if those beliefs are of the christian-like or Jewish variety apply your own standard – we’ll take your word for it.

  • democommie

    I disagree with current (and a lot of the historical) immigration law.

    Having said that, “Sham marriage” in order to circumvent the law constitutes a conspiracy and I don’t think I’d be blabbing about it in public.

  • DaveL


    When I went through the immigration process after marrying my wife (a real marriage, not a sham), at every stage of the process I had to submit evidence the marriage was genuine. Then, USCIS would invariably send us a letter saying the evidence was insufficient and demanding more, without any explanation as to why what had already been sent was inadequate. After more was sent the process would move ahead without further comment.

    I had long suspected that there was in fact nothing insufficient about the evidence we initially sent, and that these form-letter demands for more evidence were nothing more than a stalling tactic meant to make somebody’s processing-time metrics look better. If people are perpetrating serial sham marriages under the nose of the USCIS, I guess that’s one more data point in support.

  • lancifer


    Your cousin’s undocumented Ghanain spouse’s problems probably come from the fact that he began the process as an illegal alien. They would have been better off going to Ghana to be married there and then going through the process of applying for a K1 fiance visa. This would take about six months and then he could have come to the US.

    Then they could get a K3 marriage visa, which takes longer.

    My wife was here on a student visa when we met. She returned to Ethiopia and then I flew to Addis Ababa for our wedding. We were pretty sure we wanted to get married while she was still here on her student visa but found out that even if we got married and applied for the fiance visa that it would be a big problem for the INS if she overstayed her student visa even though we would have been married at that time. Which is really stupid, but what to you expect from an entrenched bureaucracy.

    It took about eight months for her to get a visa. They actually gave her the K3 marriage visa, even though we had only applied for the more quickly processed fiance visa. I don’t know if it was a mistake or if a reasonable and kindhearted person at the US embassy in Addis Ababa gave us a break. Probably the former.

    Dave L,

    We had to send proof of our relationship and wedding (photos, emails, letters, marriage certificate, plane tickets etc.) several times during the process but they never gave us any real difficulty.

    Like you I suspected that the “dragging out” of the process was the result of individual clerks and bureaucrats going through their assigned duties and/or screw ups rather than any designed attempt to limit incoming immigrants.

    The whole thing is a huge waste of time and money.

  • lancifer


    …I don’t think I’d be blabbing about it in public.

    Please, if you think the INS doesn’t know that a large portion, if not a majority, of marriage visas are about gaining visa status you are either naive or ill-informed.

    I’ll refrain from stating other possibilities.

  • lancifer

    Oh, and as Dave L does, I should use the abbreviation USCIS ( U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) instead of the now defunct INS (United States Immigration and Naturalization Service ).