February 17, 1981
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS TO HEAR WORLD CITIZEN CASE MARCH 11
Washington, D.C. - A new chapter in the legally convoluted case of the United States vs. World Citizen Garry Davis - and vice versa - will be written on March 11 in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Starting at 9:30 a.m., David Carliner, the noted civil rights and immigration attorney, will try to convince the Appeals Court for the District of Columbia that the Unite States was wrong (a) when it first accepted Davis' renunciation of citizenship in 1948, (b) when it refused to accept his world passport as proper identification of reentry into the U.S. in 1977, and (c) when it persists in trying to deport him.
The origins of the case date back to post-war Europe when Davis, a native-born American and a bomber pilot during World War II, renounced his American citizenship in the U.S. Embassy in Paris. At the same time, he submitted a prepared statement explaining that he was doing so to emphasize his belief that exclusive allegiance to a nation was no longer tolerable in a nuclear-triggered world, that humans owe their first loyalty to humankind, and that he wished henceforth to be considered a citizen of the world.
Davis' renunciation of citizenship should never have been accepted, Carliner argues, since established U.S. policy opposes the creation of stateless persons, and since Davis' statement made it clear that he was renouncing his exclusive allegiance to the country of his birth, not pledging allegiance to another sovereign nation.
Mistake number two, according to the Davis defense - occurred when Davis was stopped by Immigration and Naturalization officials at Dulles International Airport in 1977. The INS officials refused to recognize the passport Davis was carrying, a document issued by the World Service Authority, the administrative agency of the embryonic world government Davis had declared in 1953. There are, Davis says, some 200,000 world passport holders around the world, the document has been accepted by numerous governments, and is sanctioned by the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Mistake number three occurred when Davis was declared an "alien" and was "excluded and deported" following the INS hearing. Only he wasn't.
"The fact that the United States seems unable to grasp," Davis said, "is that there is no place to send me. I'm a U.S. native, born and raised here, and no other country has a claim on me or a responsibility for me."
It is possible that the U.S. Government has some idea of the problem, since it made no move to deport Davis. The World Citizen, officially "excluded" from the U.S., continued to work out of the downtown office of the World Service Authority issuing passports and other identifying documents to applicants around the globe and signing up citizens for his World Government, which now number over 150,000.
Davis and Carliner, after waiting nearly two years for the U.S. Government to make its move, took the initiative. They took the United States to court, seeking a writ of habeas corpus which, if granted, would bring Davis legally into the United States.
The writ was denied. That denial, by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Flannery, is now being challenged in the Court of Appeals.
If the appeal fails, Davis says, he and Carliner are prepared to turn to the supreme Court.
"If the Appeal Court or the Supreme Court finds in our favor, it will amount to a judicial acknowledgment of my right to enter and leave the country as a world citizen. If they find against me, and I remain an 'excludable alien' who can't be deported, the basic foolishness of nationalism will be fully exposed.
"Either way, the cause of world citizenship comes out ahead."
Davis established a "World Citizen Legal Fund" to handle contributions to help with the legal expenses.