September 10, 2003

September 10, 2003 | Backgrounder on Department of Homeland Security

First They Attacked the Pledge, Now the Oath

The Oath of Allegiance - the pledge taken by immigrants in becoming U.S. citizens - will be changed on September 17 by the Department of Homeland Security. In an attempt to "simplify" language, the meaning of the oath is being altered. Heritage analysts are working right now with congressional leaders and the White House to preserve the oath and prevent its being watered down.

Letter from Heritage's Edwin Meese to Secretary Tom Ridge (pdf)

The new "oath" drops much of the great, old language about unconditionally supporting and defending the Constitution and the laws of the United States and instead commits our new citizens to defending the Constitution only "where and if lawfully required." This change undermines the absolute "true faith and allegiance" (deleted language) necessary to foster a new citizens' attachment to this country-a prerequisite for republican government.

The Department of Homeland Security is in a big rush to implement the new oath as part of a ceremony on Citizenship Day, September 17. So they've used a bureaucratic procedure to avoid releasing the text of the oath for the standard 60-day comment period.

As always, The Heritage Foundation is pledged to defend our nation's principles and our foundation as a civil society against all enemies - foreign, domestic and bureaucratic. So help us get the word out on the Department of Homeland Security's misguided attempts to make U.S. citizenship more "user-friendly" for those who want the benefits of our country, but don't care to accept the responsibility.

Letter from Heritage's Edwin Meese to Secretary Tom Ridge (pdf)

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