Renouncing United States Citizenship

I have often wondered why today’s Southern nationalists/separtists are not as good as their word when it comes to renouncing their United States citizenship. I would think this would be evidence of their commitment to their cause as well as their sincerity. So I ask of those folks who profess that position (I know you read and comment) . . . Have you renounced your United States citizenship? Would you share the reasoning for your decision?

The rest of you may weigh in as you choose.

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25 thoughts on “Renouncing United States Citizenship

  1. Pat Young May 28, 2013 / 5:12 am

    Folks should understand that renunciation of citizenship is an extremely serious and potentially life destroying step. There is a formal procedure for renunciation precisely to reduce the chance that someone would renounce for transitory reasons. The Immigration & Nationality Act provides the form for renunciation:

    Section 349(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(5)) provides for the loss of nationality by voluntarily

    “(5) making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state , in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State” .

    The “form prescribed” is:

    ” appear in person before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
    in a foreign country (normally at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate); and
    sign an oath of renunciation”

    The State Department advises that:

    “Renunciations that do not meet the conditions described above have no legal effect. Because of the provisions of Section 349(a)(5), U.S. citizens cannot effectively renounce their citizenship by mail, through an agent, or while in the United States.”

    In order to be effective the renouncer must renounce all rights and privileges of citizenship. A limited renunciation, typically where the renouncer wants to give up citizenship but remain in the US, will not be accepted. According to the State Department:

    “A person seeking to renounce U.S. citizenship must renounce all the rights and privileges associated with such citizenships. In the case of Colon v. U.S. Department of State , 2 F.Supp.2d 43 (1998), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected Colon’s petition for a writ of mandamus directing the Secretary of State to approve a Certificate of Loss of Nationality in the case because he wanted to retain the right to live in the United States while claiming he was not a U.S. citizen.”

    The underlying reason for this procedure is the severe consequence renunciation entails. The renouncer gives up the right to live in the US. The renouncer even gives up the right to make brief visits to the US. The renouncer cannot rescind the renunciation unless he or she was under 18 at the time. If the renouncer does not have dual nationality, the renouncer will be rendered stateless. He will become a man without a country!

    To sketch this out, if a “Confederate” went to the UK on a US passport to renounce at a US Consulate and did so successfully, not only would he not be allowed back into the United States, but Britain would also seek to expel him since his privilege of being there rested on his US citizenship. He might then be permanently in limbo since no country would be obligated to take him in.

    Here is the warning from the State Department on this:

    “Finally, those contemplating a renunciation of U.S. citizenship should understand that the act is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1483),,,.

    Renunciation is the most unequivocal way in which a person can manifest an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Please consider the effects of renouncing U.S. citizenship, described above, before taking this serious and irrevocable action.”

    I understand that the question posed by Brooks is designed to elicit debate, but I would hate to see a person suffer statelessness for a fatuous devotion to a long lost cause.

    • John Foskett May 28, 2013 / 3:24 pm

      I forget who said it (Holmes?) but somebody once observed that “the First Amendment guarantees debate. It doesn’t guarantee intelligent debate.” At some point, however, somebody who is convinced that the United States is crushing their rights and that they should have the ability to “secede” should put their dubloons where their piehole is.

  2. Jimmy Dick May 28, 2013 / 2:30 pm

    At one time if someone took a commission as a foreign officer they lost their US citizenship. That does not seem to be the case today unless the foreign country was at war with the US and that individual voluntarily accepted service with that country.
    The Constitution itself is very silent on the issue, but then it is silent on a lot of issues which just shows us that we have to make it work for us in our age, not for the deceased people of previous generations.

  3. cc2001 May 28, 2013 / 2:41 pm

    Assuming most neo-Confederates live in the South, I went to CDC reports for a look at which populations depend most on federal largesse. I excluded senior citizens and the disabled. I looked at the categories of out-of-wedlock birth, obesity and high school dropout rates, since I reasoned these factors would predispose folks to need aid before becoming entitled to Medicare and Social Security. Many southern states have high obesity and dropout rates, although these problems are well dispersed throughout the nation. Unwed motherhood is another story. Of the 26 states with the highest rate (over 40% of births), 13 are in the south. There are only 14 southern states. (Virginia was the single one to miss the cut I’m proud to say). So, those sweet southern boys need to zip it.

    • Phil Leigh May 29, 2013 / 3:02 pm

      There are three flaws in cc2001’s implicitly racist analysis

      First, regrettably the (1) obesity, (2) out-of-wedlock births, and (3) high school dropout statistics are also higher than average among African-Americans.

      Second, the proportional share of the African-Americans in the Southern states is higher than in the rest of the country.

      Third, it is insulting to women to presume that males-only are the determinants of out-of-wedlock births. Today’s women are fully empowered to say “No”. They are also responsible.

      • Lyle Smith May 30, 2013 / 7:31 am

        I second Phil’s comment.

      • Pat Young May 30, 2013 / 11:48 am

        Phil, not sure how that is a flaw in cc2001’s analyisis. Please explain.

  4. Corey Meyer May 28, 2013 / 6:54 pm

    Looks like some dude on SNN’s comments took your advice and brought up the topic. Typically, those southern nationalists failed to join his and your call.

  5. Ann Kunkle-Jones May 29, 2013 / 9:04 am

    My best friend in college had dual citizenship – U.S. and Austrian. When she returned to Austria after college and tried to find employment (this was the early 90s) she could not be employed due to the dual citizenship. She tried for at least 2 years and finally decided she needed to renounce her American citizenship in order to be employed. She cried during the whole procedure as she really didn’t want to give it up – but she had to work. (Her mother was American; her father Austrian – she was born in Chicago and lived in Chicago until she was 3 – came back for high school and college). She gained employment 2 weeks later (by an American company). She explained the heartache that went with the renunciation. It still troubles her 20 years later. It was a huge gift she was born with and I never understood how precious it truly was until she had to give it up.

  6. Charles Lovejoy May 29, 2013 / 9:38 am

    Everybody grumbles but few leave or renounce their citizenship

  7. Connie Chastain May 31, 2013 / 11:42 pm

    Renouncing one’s citizenship and the secession of one’s state are two different things. An individual leaving the US is not secession. This is an attempt to conflate two disparate concepts.

    • neukomment June 1, 2013 / 3:10 pm

      ..and people living in a secession state who do NOT want to renounce there USA citizenship or fight the Cotton Planters’ war are……..?

      • SF Walker June 1, 2013 / 10:41 pm

        Those people are up a certain creek without a paddle—even the act of leaving their seceded state meant a great personal risk; along with the certain loss of their property. Their citizenship decisions had been made for them. So much for secession being an example of democracy in action–at least for Unionists.

      • Connie Chastain June 1, 2013 / 10:56 pm

        …They’re free to leave, or to stay and be disgruntled, or stay and make the best of it — among other possible choices.Perhaps they can look to the British colonists who did not support the revolution for some inspiration.

        • John Foskett June 2, 2013 / 7:40 am

          And so the Secession Delusion goes on and on and…..

        • Jimmy Dick June 2, 2013 / 8:58 am

          Or they could do what many of them did. Fight to preserve the Union or to reject the secessionists who were illegally trying to drag their state out of the United States. They could be the 180,000 men in Missouri who fought to prevent the state government from violating the laws of the country and the will of the people and then had to fight outlaws and bandits who were terrorizing the state. They could be the men from Kentucky who rejected the Confederacy and fought to drive their forces from the state. They could be the men of Tennessee who joined the Union Army and fought to free their state from the elite class’s control. They could be some of 200,000 black men, many of whom were born as slaves who fought to free the rest of the slaves, and so that they too could be US citizens with equal rights.

  8. Pat Young June 2, 2013 / 8:58 am

    Of course, in 1865 had the Confederacy actually won, roughly a third of the population would not have been “free to leave.”

    • Andy Hall June 2, 2013 / 4:48 pm

      > roughly a third of the population would not have been “free to leave.”

      But they wouldn’t want to, because they were “more like family” — or so I frequently hear.

  9. Connie Chastain June 2, 2013 / 7:15 pm

    We don’t know how long that situation would have lasted, Mr. Young. In any case, I don’t think that was the segment of the population neukomment.was referring to, since they didn’t possess US citizenship to renounce….

    • Pat Young June 3, 2013 / 7:53 am

      Ms. Chastain,
      In 1862 Attorney General Bates issued an opinion saying that blacks born in this country were citizens, albeit those enslaved may be of a different class of citizens, as were women and as children continue to be. That opinion was one you apparently dispute, but the Federal government treated them as (second class) citizens, but citizens none the less, for Constitutional purposes from then on. The opinion is forgotten today, because it was insecure, at variance with “dicta” in the Dred Scott decision, and superceded by the 13th-15th amendments.

  10. Connie Chastain June 3, 2013 / 2:42 am

    Mr. Hall, if you don’t mind my asking, how frequently do you hear that? I notice that in the SHPG thread you referenced, there are five comments and only one mentions slaves being like family.

  11. Bob Huddleston June 3, 2013 / 10:47 am

    It is good of Connie to remind us that the non-citizen slaves were the cause of secession and war. As for how long slavery would last, one only has to read the careful efforts of the makers of the CS Constitution to realize they also were concerned about that and were careful to make certain that their new country would not have any free states to agitate for emancipation and a Southern 13th Amendment.

  12. Connie Chastain June 3, 2013 / 8:17 pm

    Mr. Huddleston, none of that tells you how long slavery would have lasted. And I made no such reminder.

  13. Patrick Young November 20, 2013 / 8:09 am

    Just used this clip for the “renouncing citizenship” section of my immigration law class. Filed under “Renouncing Citizenship: How Not To”.

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