No, seriously, they totally do! Don’t believe me? Just look at the latest and greatest non-binding bipartisan resolution from Capitol Hill, brought to you by Senators Al Franken & Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI):
A resolution expressing the regret of the Senate for the passage of section 3 of the Expatriation Act of 1907 (34 Stat. 1228) that revoked the United States citizenship of women who married foreign nationals.
The Expatriation Act of 1907 was not completely repealed until 1940, meaning it took the U.S. government 33 years to fix the problem they created, and 74 years after that to admit that it was a dumb idea in the first place. Hope you aren’t planning to hold your breath for Washington to repeal FATCA and apologise for all the modern-day national origin discrimination which it’s causing.
The relevant section of the Expatriation Act of 1907 read as follows:
§ 3. That any American woman who marries a foreigner shall take the nationality of her husband. At the termination of the marital relation she may resume her American citizenship, if abroad, by registering as an American citizen within one year with a consul of the United States, or by returning to reside in the United States, or, if residing in the United States at the termination of the marital relation, by continuing to reside therein.
This section was partially repealed by §§ 3 and 7 of the Cable Act of 1922 (42 Stat. 1022) … but only for those whose spouses were not “ineligible to citizenship” in the United States:
§ 3. That a woman citizen of the United States shall not cease to be a citizen of the United States by reason of her marriage after the passage of this act, unless she makes a formal renunciation of her citizenship before a court having jurisdiction over naturalization of aliens: Provided, That any woman citizen who marries an alien ineligible to citizenship shall cease to be a citizen of the United States. If at the termination of the marital status she is a citizen of the United States she shall retain her citizenship regardless of her residence.
If during the continuance of the marital status she resides continuously for two years in a foreign State of which her husband is a citizen or subject, or for five years continuously outside the United States, she shall thereafter be subject to the same presumption as is a naturalized citizen of the United States under the second paragraph of section 2 of the act entitled “An Act in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad,” approved March 2, 1907. (ed.: “When any naturalized citizen shall have resided for two years in the foreign state from which he came, or for five years in any foreign state it shall be presumed that he has ceased to be an American citizen.”)
“Alien ineligible to citizenship” was a code-phrase for Asians. In short, if you were married to someone from India or China or other countries whose immigrants seemed racially threatening to the fevered imaginations of Homelanders, then the government and the masses of newly-empowered Homelander women voters didn’t care about your citizenship problems. Instead you were stuck waiting until the Nationality Act of 1940 repealed the remaining provisions relating to denationalization of American women married to un-Americans and the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 eliminated the whole racist category of “aliens ineligible to citizenship”.
Contrary to common misconceptions, the Expatriation Act of 1907 was not directed solely against women, but against many other people who lived abroad, even if they had no foreigners in their immediate family:
§ 6. That all children born outside the limits of the United States who are citizens thereof in accordance with the provisions of section nineteen hundred and ninety-three of the Revised Statutes of the United States and who continue to reside outside the United States shall, in order to receive the protection of this Government, be required upon reaching the age of eighteen years to record at an American consulate their intention to become residents and remain citizens of the United States and shall be further required to take the oath of allegiance to the United States upon attaining their majority.
What’s more amusing is the voting record of these Senators from Wisconsin and Minnesota who are giving themselves a public pat-on-the-back for having oh-so-much-more enlightened views on citizenship than their predecessors. The three sponsors of S.R. 402 who were in Congress when FATCA was passed all voted in favour of it (Franken and Klobuchar in the Senate, and Baldwin in the House after earlier co-sponsoring Lloyd Doggett’s similar Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act). Baldwin also is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which again this year has repeated their perennial tiresome proposals to eliminate the FEIE. Et cetera, ad nauseum.
In other words, they represent the exact same political sentiments which motivated the Expatriation Act of 1907: that people who are intimately connected to foreigners — whether by marrying them or simply by choosing to live among them — are suspicious and un-American and must be placed under enhanced scrutiny and heightened restrictions and extra burdens to ensure they aren’t cheating all the Real Patriotic Citizens. The only difference is that the Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot express these discriminatory sentiments through the nationality law any longer, so instead they express them through the tax law.
And in a crowning touch of irony, the racist Cable Act was actually less restrictive than the modern-day citizenship-based taxation regime: American women in the 1920s could marry Latin Americans and Africans and Eastern Europeans (just not Asians) without losing their U.S. citizenship, but American women and men in the 2010s who dare try to be self-employed in Latin American and African and Eastern European countries are punished with double social-security taxation due to the lack of totalization agreements — which until 2001 were signed solely with Western European countries or countries with settler populations of predominantly Western European extraction, and even since then have only featured two Asian countries and one Latin American one among the new signatories. (Note also that this double taxation is not ameliorated by the § 901 Foreign Tax Credit, which applies only to income taxes, and to add insult to injury there’s the “windfall elimination” provision on top of that.)
A final quote, from S.R. 402:
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) acknowledges that section 3 of the Expatriation Act of 1907 (34 Stat. 1228) is incompatible with and antithetical to the core principle that all persons, regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity, are created equal;
(2) expresses sincere sympathy and regret to the descendants of individuals whose citizenship was revoked under section 3 of the Expatriation Act of 1907, who suffered injustice, humiliation, and inequality, and who were deprived of constitutional protections accorded to all citizens of the United States; and
(3) reaffirms the commitment to preserving civil rights and constitutional protections for all people of the United States.
Prediction: sometime in the early decades of the 22nd century, Senators will take a break from their busy schedule of imposing rightful punishments on those ungrateful traitors who fled the Mother Planet for Mars and the Moon to issue a heartfelt apology to our Canadian and Danish and Japanese descendants for how FATCA messed up great-grandma’s life, and again “reaffirm their commitment to preserving civil rights and constitutional protections for all people” (besides those extraplanetary whiners who refuse to pay their fair share).
Let’s just hope they don’t try to unilaterally restore our great-grandchildren’s “U.S. Personhood” while they’re at it. And that some brave souls will form a Robert Heinlein Society to point out their hypocrisy.
The Repatriation Oaths the expatriated women were required to take are on Ancestry.com, so you can look up any ancestors who might have been affected.
I used to post on here a lot. Then I buried my head in the sand.
Then a couple of days ago, I sent a withdrawl request to send money from overseas to a US bank. The institution responded with “We can’t wire money to the US.”
Then I thought, OK, I’ll open an account with a bank that I am familiar with in Europe. On the 2nd page, “Are you a US person?” Common! This is money that I live on. I’m just trying to eek out a life in a country that I kind of have to live in.
Things appear to have definitely gotten worse from a US expat-perspective. I can’t help but think, out of all of the countries in the world, I happened to be born in the only country that does this!
I used to post on here a lot. Then I buried my head in the sand.
Missed ya … ostrich! Lotsa antsy newbies biting down on magic bullets.
So the 1907 Act stipulated:
“That any American woman who marries a foreigner shall take the nationality of her husband.”
Did this legislation leave some women stateless?
Or did the U.S. impose 30% withholding on the husband’s country if it failed to heed the U.S. and take the women as citizens?
What we are seeing is the most simplest of strategies being put into play: divide and conquer.
Congressional hypocrisy at its finest: Franken’s resolution passed last Wednesday
And who brought it up for passage? Harry Reid (D-NV), who last year kept himself busy trying to revoke the passports of U.S. citizens who had failed to fill out any five of the IRS’ toxic asset-reporting forms demanded of ordinary emigrants trying to save for retirement, medical expenses, or their children’s education in the manner approved by the legislatures of the places where they actually live.
Just dumping this here: awful NPR article on the Expatriation Act of 1907
Which they promote on Twitter with the unintentionally hilarious quote: “Oh how times have changed”
A small reminder of how CBT and FATCA have affected stay at home spouses, who are mostly women:
I wasn’t seriously expecting a mainstream journalist at NPR to be so bold as to tie those issues from 1907 to the ones occurring today, even though they’re motivated by the exact same prejudices. But she wouldn’t even spell out the details of the racist Cable Act, instead reducing it to this anodyne description: