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News Release



Round two in the confrontation between World Citizen Garry Davis and the United States Government is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Davis and his lawyer, David Carliner, will appear for a hearing before the Board of Immigration Appeal to try to overturn the order, issued by Immigration Judge Emil M. Bobek on May 17, that Davis be excluded from the United States and deported.

Davis' troubles with the Immigration and Naturalization Service began May 13 at Dulles International Airport when Davis attempted to reenter the U.S. after a brief trip to Europe. He was identified only by a World Passport issued by the World Service Authority of Basel, Switzerland, an organization founded and headed by Davis.

Davis, a native-born American, served as a bomber pilot in World War II. He surrendered his American citizenship in 1948, denouncing the system of nation states as "a lethal folly in a nuclear-triggered world" and proclaimed himself a Citizen of the World.

He declared a World Government in 1953 and his organization began issuing World Passports and other identifying documents to self-identified world citizens. To date, Davis says, more than 50,000 people around the world have officially signed up as citizens of his government, more than half of them taking out World Passports.

Although the U.S. does not officially recognize the World Passport as an acceptable travel document, six other nations do recognize it as a matter of law. Approximately 100 others-including the U.S.-have permitted border crossings to World Passport holders on a case-by-case basis.

"This whole situation is ludicrous," Davis said. "In the first place, there is no country to which the U.S. can legally deport me. And secondly, the U.S.-which claims to be a champion of human rights-has worked itself into the position of trying to deny a native American the right to return to his country."

Davis said the passport is based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights-a document frequently cited by President Jimmy Carter. Article 13, Section 2, of the Declaration states: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

The U.S., Davis said, remains "my country" by fact of birth. "I can renounce my citizenship," he said, "but neither I nor anyone else can renounce the fact that I was born in Bar Harbor, Maine, July 27, 1921.

Davis pointed out that he has personal and working ties in the United States. He is the president and board chairman of World Service Authority District 3, 529 14th Street, NW, a District of Columbia corporation. Davis, the son of the late Meyer Davis, the noted dance band conductor, has two sisters, a brother and a mother living in the United States. He maintains a permanent residence in Washington.

Carliner, a noted civil liberties lawyer ad a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union, has submitted a memorandum to the INS challenging the right of the U.S. to deny Davis entry.

When Davis signed the prescribed oath of renunciation at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, Carliner said, he attached a statement of his own explaining that he was renouncing sole allegiance to the U.S. Government. That means, in Carliner's view, that Davis remains a U.S. national despite the renunciation of citizenship.

"The fact is that Davis has never become a citizen of any other sovereign nation," Carliner said. "The United States cannot arbitrarily create a stateless person by a narrow application of its statutes."

Carliner has said that, should the appeal go against his client, he is fully prepared to take the matter to the courts and to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. There are, Carliner said, fundamental constitutional issues involved in the case.

The appeal will be heard at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Board of Immigration Appeals, 521 12th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The hearing, before a three-judge court, is open to the public and the press.

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