French Citizen Approved for Citizenship Promptly Sues the Federal Government



Remember when immigrants were proud to become U.S. citizens? Naturalization was once a rite of passage that many dreamed of, and worked hard for years to achieve. Whether they escaped the perils of communism, fled religious persecution, or simply wished to join a society where their skills could truly add value, becoming a citizen of the United States was a privilege that many millions dreamed of and strived for. At least, that used to be the general rule.

One French citizen doesn’t appear to be so appreciative. She dislikes the process by which one swears allegiance to the United States and believes she is entitled to demand that it be changed. Olga Paule Perrier-Bilbo, who came to the U.S. from France in 2000, is refusing to recite the citizenship oath because it concludes with the words “so help me God.” Perrier-Bilbo is an atheist, and believes that including the phrase is “asserting that God exists,” and violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Immigration officials in charge of her case understood her objections and offered to let her recite an alternate version of the oath that excludes the offending phrase.

However, Ms. Perrier-Bilbo also rejected the alternative wording, claiming it would make her “feel like less than a full new citizen.” She has now filed a lawsuit demanding that all references to God be removed from the Oath of Citizenship as impermissible government endorsement of religion. She says, “the phrase… sends the ancillary message to members of the audience that disbelieve in God that they are outsiders.”

The U.S. has long accorded constitutional rights to even the newest arrivals upon her shores and there is no bar to her suit. Nevertheless, if Ms.Perrier-Bilbo still feels like an outsider, perhaps she shouldn’t be attempting to naturalize. The United States naturalization process was originally intended to assure that immigrants were able to assimilate to American values and laws – not to accommodate the subjective feelings of any and every foreigner who wishes to reside here. Becoming an American citizen is a privilege, not an entitlement.

Ms. Perrier-Bilbo’s suit is frightening evidence of just how little is now demanded in exchange for U.S. citizenship. When a migrant not only feels entitled to demand naturalization, but to insist that it be delivered on her terms, perhaps it’s time to reemphasize that the social contract implies certain expectations on the part of the immigrant and the nation she is choosing to be a part of.

About Author

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Spencer joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2015. He conducts research, and writes content for FAIR’s publications and website. He brings previous experience in state politics, gubernatorial and district campaigns, and D.C. political non-profits. Spencer holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.

16 Comments

  1. avatar

    We need less immigration, not more. For the very first time a national park is discussing having reservations. Nothing new most would say. Except this is not reservations to stay overnight or camp. Zion National Park in Utah has so many visitors they are thinking about reservations just to enter the park. Yosemite park in California is as crowded as a mall parking lot on many days. Of course you will never get the media to make the connection between that and a growing population fueled by immigration. Even Fox is liberal in some parts of the day. Just watch some of the reporters in the afternoon and Sheperd Smith, who would fit right in on CNN. The difference in most of the nighttime Fox shows and other networks is they will have guests of the opposite view. CNN and MSNBC are nothing but echo chambers with everyone confirming each other’s opinions.

  2. avatar

    Wow without God there would be no United States……really how did our forfathers defeat England when we had no chance… that is why they said Under God in the pledge ……and in our constitution

  3. avatar

    Hear! Hear! It’s about time that someone made an issue of the ‘under God’ clause. It’s patently obvious that it is a violation of the first amendment establishment clause. Shame on Americans that it takes a foreigner to point this out.

  4. avatar

    Progressives’ undermining our American traditions, values and culture is the culprit. But WE are also responsible as well. Why? WE permit it. Citizenship is like a prize one grabs from a crackerjacks box. No strings, just take and enjoy.

  5. avatar

    This woman is not a citizen and has no rights . If she wants to be a citizen she will do what has been done all through history and recite under God or turn her *** around and go back to where she came from so say under god, THATS UNDER GOD , did you get that it’s UNDER GOD !! Say it or get your *** out , go back to the home you left , real Americans don’t want you here, you try to start trouble and you are not a citizen, god knows what you would do if you were allowed to stay ‘n

  6. avatar
    George P Tyrebyter on

    It’s clear that this woman is 100% correct. There is no reason to have the reference to “God” in the oath of citizenship. In our constitution, there is a clause: No religious test shall be required for public office. No religious test should be required for citizenship, either. Remove the phrase. If you wish, you can add it yourself. When I say the Pledge, I omit “under God”, and when I lead the pledge, I am pleased to confuse the audience. The pledge should not have “under God”.

  7. avatar

    In my opinion this specific controversy has nothing to do with one’s belief, or not, in God. Instead, the most important aspect here is does this noncitizen foreigner have the right to demand that the USA change to appease her. My vote is a resounding NO, NO, NO. While this country is a republic, we have always operated by majority rule. But, today, we are a weak, easily manipulated nation unwilling and unable to stand up and stand strong for our society, our beliefs, and our way of doing things historically. This person is not satisfied with any accommodation but chose, instead, to FORCE this nation to make this specific change. Why in yhe wotld would we WANT this person as a citizen of our nation??? This is the oath we have used for awarding citizenship forever and we should NOT be changing it for any person, much less a foreigner. We need to remember and remind and remind her that we have plenty of citizens and have no need of one more, and that we expect anyone requesting our citizenship be prepared to have allegiance ONLY to this country and be prepared to make whatever changes needed to assimulate into our society, culture, and operations. But, this foreigner with obvious disdain for our nation has the unmitigated gall to use our legal system against us and, in today’s liberal courts will surely win. And, so, we will have another historical part of our nation thrown by the wayside, not because the vast majority of American citizens voted for this, but because ONE person wants to force this whole country to do this. America has always valued the individual, but never has allowed one person to make a decision affecting every other person in the nation. The USA needs to stop this stupidity and relearn how to stand firm for OUR WAYS.

    • avatar
      Danna Templeton on

      I agree. After how many have pledged this or with how it is written, why does one think they are so stupid/special to think they can change it now? When not even a citizen?

  8. avatar

    Marc Letourneau, you can feel free to GTFO as well…. This nation was founded on judeo-christian values, now matter how much you and your hateful brethren scream about it. You sure enjoy the benefits of this country, while denouncing its heritage…. I’m sure France Or Canada would love to have you back?

  9. avatar
    Atheistically Yours on

    As an atheist, I SUPPORT this NEW CITIZEN, and her lawsuit! THERE IS TOO GOD-DAMNED MUCH RELIGION IN GOVERNMENT! ELIMINATE THE “SO HELP ME GOD” FROM ALL OATGS!

  10. avatar
    Marc Letourneau on

    It is ironic that we needed a foreigner to make us understand this so obvious anti-constitutional pledge. The USA should be for all people, not only those who believe in god, that is if we really understand freedom of speech and the constitution. According to you those Americans who do not believe in god are not american!!!??? You need to go back to the logic school. Or maybe you are of the majority of Christians who have the agenda to impose their religion on everyone else, and by doing so they are making such a lack of humility statement.