Sen. Tom Cotton: Changes To Citizenship Oath ‘Undermines What It Means To Be A Citizen’

AP Photo/Danny Johnston
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

The Obama administration’s changes to the Oath of Allegiance for new citizens erodes its very meaning, according to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

“The Obama Administration’s announced changes to the Oath of Allegiance undermines what it means to be a citizen of the United States,” Cotton said in statement.

Tuesday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it was altering the eligibility requirements for modifications to the Oath of Allegiance. Namely, while immigrants seeking to become citizens are usually required to declare they will “bear arms on behalf of the United States” and “perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States,” the new guidance now allows for not only those with religious objections but also people with a strongly held beliefs to omit those portions.

Specifically the guidance says that citizenship candidates:

-May be eligible for modifications based on religious training and belief, or conscientious objection arising from a deeply held moral or ethical code.

-Is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief, or to have had religious training in order to qualify.

-May submit, but is not required to provide, an attestation from a religious or other type of organization, as well as other evidence to establish eligibility.

Cotton in his statement this week  highlighted his family and his personal experience with and in the military.

“Growing up in Dardanelle I learned from an early age that freedom isn’t free. I knew my dad and many of his friends had put their lives on hold to serve during the Vietnam War,” he said. “When they returned home they didn’t ask for glory or recognition; in their minds they were simply doing their patriotic duty. Their service is partially what inspired me to join the Army after September 11th and to volunteer for a second deployment to Afghanistan.”

According to Cotton, this sense of service should be universal to all Americans.

“All citizens of the United States—native or naturalized—should have that same of sense of patriotism and duty,” he said.


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