Posted on September 9, 2004
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today introduced an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act that prohibits any funding to be used to amend the Oath of Allegiance that immigrants are required to take to become citizens of the United States. The Senate approved the measure. "The Oath of Allegiance is a fundamental statement of what it means to be an American," said Alexander. Congress - not a federal agency - has designated the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, the National Motto, and the content of our National Flag. The oath, some of which predates all of those other national symbols, ought to be treated with the same respect." Alexander has introduced a bill to make the current oath law. That bill is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Alexander says, "This amendment will ensure the oath is not changed unilaterally by an agency in the meantime." American history and civics is a priority for Alexander. The Senate has unanimously passed his bill to create summer academies for teachers and students to inspire better teaching and more learning of the key events, persons and ideas that shape the institutions and democratic heritage of the United States. Earlier this year, Alexander introduced legislation to create a 10-state pilot study to provide state-by-state comparisons of U.S. history test data for 8th and 12th grades administered through the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to assess and improve knowledge of American history. Alexander became concerned about the Oath of Allegiance after learning that the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) was planning to change it last fall.