Washington College of Law
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Communication 1773 (United States)

1773, presented through a communication dated August 13, 1973, reports that Spanish-speaking resident aliens in the United States, especially those from Mexico, are allegedly being deprived of the right to an equal opportunity to acquire citizenship in that country by denying them the opportunity to take the test required by law to secure United States citizenship in their own language; this test demands fluency in English, both in speaking and writing. The claimants allege that this situation affects one million Spanish-speaking residents in the United States and that it is a violation of Articles I, II, VI, XIX, XX, and XIV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The complaint is accompanied by a number of appendices (A to G) and is backed by 355 individuals, some representing family groups residing in California, and by individuals and agencies connected to that State.

By virtue of a decision reached during the thirty-first session ( October 1973), when the initial steps in connection with this case began, the Commission requested the Government of the United States, through a note of December 19, 1973, to provide the appropriate information, in accordance with Articles 42 and 44 of its Regulations.

The Government of the United States, through a note of April 4, 1974, replied to the Commission's request by reporting in summary, that the subject matter of the complaint filed with the CIDH had never been brought before any United States court; the Government provided extensive data on the jurisprudence of similar cases brought before the United States Court, specifically, the so called "Contreras Petition".

During the thirty-fourth session (October 1974) , the Commission approved a resolution in which it declared the case inadmissible. This resolution was brought to the attention of the parties concerned on November 26, 1974.

[ Inter-American Human Rights Database ]