“I Absolutely and Entirely Renounce...”
The Ombudsman at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (the portion of the old INS that does green cards and citizenship) has a new report out on improving naturalization ceremonies (in pdf here). A lot of it’s administrative stuff, but there are a couple of gems about judges who sometimes administer the oath of citizenship. First this:
Inappropriate Religious or Political Remarks. In one judicial ceremony, an official participant of the ceremony made explicit sectarian religious remarks when discussing the origins of freedom; in another, the judge utilized his welcoming remarks to make pointed and partisan political comments. Specifically, the judge stated that persons should “get off their dead [posteriors] and oppose the war.”
But this one is even more outrageous:
Oath ceremonies Conducted in a Foreign Language. In one district with a large Spanish-speaking population, the judge administered the oath ceremony (introductions, directions, speech, artistic presentations, etc.) entirely in Spanish, with the exception of administering the oath itself in English and Spanish. A USCIS official polled the audience, by show of hands, to determine if every applicant present understood Spanish; despite the fact that several persons raised their hands indicating they did not speak Spanish, the presiding judge proceeded in Spanish. While certain waivers exist, no person is naturalized who cannot demonstrate an understanding of the English language.
I’m going to try to find out who this judge was, though they probably won’t tell me. But if his name does get out, it seems to me this is grounds for impeachment.