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  • INS detainee fights for citizenship.

    INS detainee David Sebastian believes he is a U.S. citizen.
    The
    Immigration and Naturalization Service sees Sebastian as just one of
    tens
    of thousands of deportable aliens.

    But as Sebastian tells it, the outcome of his case turns on a swear.

    As a Jehovah's Witness, he said he took a "modified oath" of
    citizenship
    designed for religions that forbid followers to swear or take oaths.

    "I affirmed my citizenship on March 11, 1988, in the Miami district
    office
    of the INS," Sebastian said, pointing to a rule listed in the INS
    Operation
    Instructions booklet that states "when any naturalization . . . is
    executed
    by affirmation . . . the word 'affirm' shall be substituted for the
    word
    'swear' . . . the words 'so help me (us) God' shall be stricken."

    When he was 2 years old, Sebastian's parents moved him and his siblings
    from Cuba to Miami in 1969. He never left Miami and studied computer
    programming after high school. Sebastian, who eventually married and
    had
    two daughters, worked for a small company as a programmer in Miami for
    several years. In the late 1980s, he says he began selling boats.

    "The biggest mistake of my life," Sebastian told the Herald as he
    described
    how he started dealing in stolen boats as the boat-selling business
    diminished.

    He was arrested for transporting stolen property between Miami and the
    Caribbean and served 5½ years in prison. After completing his sentence,
    the
    INS transferred him into its custody and began deportation proceedings,
    according to a law requiring deportation of all felons who are not U.S.
    citizens.

  • #2
    INS detainee David Sebastian believes he is a U.S. citizen.
    The
    Immigration and Naturalization Service sees Sebastian as just one of
    tens
    of thousands of deportable aliens.

    But as Sebastian tells it, the outcome of his case turns on a swear.

    As a Jehovah's Witness, he said he took a "modified oath" of
    citizenship
    designed for religions that forbid followers to swear or take oaths.

    "I affirmed my citizenship on March 11, 1988, in the Miami district
    office
    of the INS," Sebastian said, pointing to a rule listed in the INS
    Operation
    Instructions booklet that states "when any naturalization . . . is
    executed
    by affirmation . . . the word 'affirm' shall be substituted for the
    word
    'swear' . . . the words 'so help me (us) God' shall be stricken."

    When he was 2 years old, Sebastian's parents moved him and his siblings
    from Cuba to Miami in 1969. He never left Miami and studied computer
    programming after high school. Sebastian, who eventually married and
    had
    two daughters, worked for a small company as a programmer in Miami for
    several years. In the late 1980s, he says he began selling boats.

    "The biggest mistake of my life," Sebastian told the Herald as he
    described
    how he started dealing in stolen boats as the boat-selling business
    diminished.

    He was arrested for transporting stolen property between Miami and the
    Caribbean and served 5½ years in prison. After completing his sentence,
    the
    INS transferred him into its custody and began deportation proceedings,
    according to a law requiring deportation of all felons who are not U.S.
    citizens.

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