Letter to Richard Gottlieb

Richard Gottlieb, Director
United States Department of Homeland Security
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
6130 Tyvola Center Drive
Charlotte NC 28217

Dear Mr. Gottlieb,

I was informed by the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina that you are the official responsible for the presentation of the naturalization services held in that Court. If this is in error I will appreciate your directing me to the appropriate official.

I am writing on behalf of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. The Foundation is a national, not-for-profit organization with over 12,000 members, based in Madison, Wisconsin, whose purpose is to protect the fundamental principles of separation of Church and State.

One of the Foundation’s members is an applicant for citizenship in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The applicant objects to the oath in the form it appears on Form N-400, specifically to its inclusion of the words “So help me God.” These words are not mentioned by the enabling statute, 8 U.S.C. 1448(a), and appear to have been added by the USCIS. The form does not tell the applicant of the opportunity, codified at 1 U.S.C. 1, to make a non-religious affirmation instead of a religious oath.

The Foundation requests: (1) that USCIS Form N-400, Part 14, be revised to inform the applicant that he or she may subscribe to either the religious oath or a non-religious affirmation or the 28 U.S.C. 1746 statement, and (2) that applicants be advised again of these alternatives immediately prior to each naturalization ceremony. We think these changes will appropriately introduce applicants for citizenship to the cherished American tradition of governmental neutrality toward religion.

I appreciate your attention to this letter and request the favor of a prompt reply.

Very truly yours,

George Daly

cc: Freedom From Religion Foundation

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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