Are US Refugee statistics correct?
Hmmm. What’s up here? Does 2+2 = 32? Why are the US Federal Register published statistics off by a factor of 8? Is this “truth”? Is this “competence”? Is this “leadership”? Is this “‘information’ for ‘formulating an opinion’?” What kind of opinion is meant to be formulated with this kind of “information”?
The President turns to his staff mathematician and asks: “Quick, what’s 2 = 2 ?” The mathematician answers, “The answer is straightforward: 2 + 2 is exactly 4.” The President turns to his staff statistician, and asks the same question. The statistician replies: ” The probability that 2 + 2 lies within the region 3.5 and 4.5 is 98% “. The President turns to his appointed first report at the Federal Register, and asks the same question. The administrator responds “What would you like it to be, Mr. President?”
Federal Register Statistics (the ones published all the time, shown as the black line in the graph):
Let’s look at what the Federal Register has reported, as acquired from Wikipedia’s “The Federal Register Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Expatriate” (source referenced “A” below). This is a list which supposedly reports the quantity of Expatriating individuals from USA–the number is supposed to include 1) renunciants, 2) relinquishers, and 3) those long-term residents who have terminated their visa’s (“this listing, long-term residents, as defined in section 877(e)(2), are treated as if they were citizens of the United States who lost citizenship.” (“A” & “B“))
FBI statistics of renunciants only (red bar on the graph)
A renunciant is one who has gone to the embassy and directly stated to the embassy that has traveled to the embassy and stated a consulate-standard oath of renunciation of US citizenship. For this privilege, (s)he must also now pay $2350 to the consulate. A relinquisher is one who has performed a particular act with the specific intention of losing his citizenship. Such an act could be such as working within a foreign government, or taking upon a foreign citizenship with the specific intent of simultaneously relinquishing US citizenship.
A database of those who have renounced their US citizenship exists at the FBI. This is a result of the Brady Bill which disallows renunciants from purchasing firearms. To meet the intent of that act, the list only holds the category of renunciants. Let’s make the assumption that the FBI is both correct and honest, and use it’s renunciation data with other newly data. (See references “D“, especially the first)
Loss of Long-term visa status, I-407 (shown by green bars on the graph)
The final category of expatriation is those who have held green cards. In order to be completely final of US personhood, a green card holder must file the I-407 IRS form which states that he is terminating his visa status.Only recently has a list of those terminating their greencard status with form I-407 been released. (see reference “C“)
Adding (Renunciants) + ( I-407 visa turner-inners) makes the stacked bar graphs
Therefore, with correct statistics, it should be able to add the FBI list of renunciants (the red bar) to the FOIA list of I-407 greencard turner-in-ers (the green bar, acquired from the FOIA referenced “B” below.) to make a sum. This is done by stacking the two bar graphs.
Adding relinquishers to the stacked bars: not available
The quantity of relinquishers is needed to complete the analysis. However, this is not available., hence it is not shown as a stacked bar. It was assumed that 500 relinquishments occurred per year in the first half of the period of analysis. 1000 per year were assumed for the second half of the period of the analysis. The assumed numbers are an insignificant portion of the total, and therefore would not negate any conclusions.
Blue line: What the Federal Register SHOULD read (I-407 visa turner-inners), Red bar (Renunciants), + Relinquishers (estimated)
Comparison of the two lines
Let’s look at the data in the graph to evaluate the honesty and accuracy of the administration’s Federal Register data.
Whoa! What do we see? The data in the Federal Register is 8 times lower than what it should be. This is an exponential inaccuracy.
What could be the reason for these Executive “inaccuracies”? A boo-boo? (the proper word for that is incompetence). Round-off errors? (perhaps the figures are meant to be rounded off to the nearest odd 100,000?).
Or is it some other agenda? Is Mythster Robert Stack of the Treasury helping to back up his “and Facts” Sheet? (see refs)
It appears that the quantity of individuals choosing to expatriate has little basis in accuracy. The Federal Register’s expatriation list is known as the “Name and Shame” list, as there is no functional reason for listing the names of persons having renounced their citizenship other than to shame such person. This falls in line with the President’s summer speech where he backhandedly attacked the refugees leaving his FATCA & FBAR dragnet. He was openly flailing the foreign subsidiaries who are trying to achieve corporate refugee status outside the reach of the US’ extra-territorial taxation system., “…But stopping companies from renouncing their citizenship just to get out of paying their fair share of taxes …”. With this one sentence, the president managed to smear an entire group of refugees leaving USA.
(Lest we not forget–a refugee leaving the US is muzzled from speaking about why–that the FATCA and FBAR dragnets are after him. If he shall speak, the refugee is automatically labeled a “covered expatriate” and subjected to an automatic 30% exit tax. And, be reminded that the exit tax from the Wehrmacht was only 25%!).
Altnernative anecdotal data
With no access to factual data, one must turn to anecdotal information in order to attempt to pursue a truth.
For example, in Belgium, a moderately sized country, the embassy has mentioned that they are processing about 5 renunciations per week, and that this is happening at embassies EVERYWHERE. With 190 countries in the world, this would imply 1000 renunciations per week!
In Canada and Switzerland, where awareness of FATCA is very high, most embassies and consulates have waiting periods ranging from 2 to 18 months.
The administration itself has reacted–by locking the doors to people of lesser means. First, the administration raised the renunciation fee from zero to $450. And last month, the renunciation fee was raised to $2350. Compare this to the costs of acquiring a passport–$135. Imagine that–he’s made it so that a renunciation from USA is 17 times more valuable than a passport to USA!
The data shows that the statistics of the administration just do not add up. What is the motive? What is the agenda? With this data available and analyzed, the burden of proof now lies upon the administration to fact up with its “statistics”.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ALL RESPECT DESERVED
Add another ca 13 million green card holders to that.
Banc De L Asteroide,
Please send this excellent analysis to Cdn and US press. Douglas Todd of the Vancouver Sun would be a good start:
People need to hear the truth.
Also, with deadline of 6:00 p.m. today (EDST?), per http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/renunciation/comment-page-156/#comment-3689564, send to:
Digital Journalist, State Department
“The US may have started to supplement its failed economic disincentive with a consulate chokedown on the flood of renunciants.”
This is most likely the case.
I renounced October 2013 (in Calgary) and received my CLN 5 months later. I haven’t seen my name on the list yet. In fact, Calgary Consulate phoned me a few months ago to see if I had received my CLN – that tells me that “they” are having trouble keeping track of things.
Many who lose their US citizenship will NEVER appear on this list because they have gone quietly into the night and will simply bury their “US-ness” . This includes those who don’t have a US birthplace, those who have FATCA-proofed their finances, those who have no real US connection and will never be discovered by their financial institutions, and green-carders who let it lapse but didn’t file the I-407.
Even though they are still technically US persons according to US law, practically speaking, they have expatriated themselves and left no trace. The list has gone from “name and shame” to a badge of honor so we can expect the US government to continue to minimize the numbers to the point it becomes meaningless.
I would have loved to have seen someone say in this article: “so-and-so said they don’t want US Citizenship because they will be rejected by banks and have to file tax returns every year even if they don’t owe anything.”
That’s a great analysis and thank you for being able to find all of these data sources. There is just one thing that concerns me, it’s that while it appears that the bulk of the “unreporting” comes from green card holders, only long term residents are to be treated as expatriates
The thing is that we don’t know how many of the people who surrendered their green cards using form I-407 were “long term residents”. Only long term residents would have to be reported.
Even if they had their green cards for 8 years, they may not have “8 out of the past 15 years” if they took treaty positions (claiming residence in other treaty country) before reaching 8 years.
On the other hand, some may have given up green cards and became “long term residents” thru other means such as taking a treaty position (claiming residence in other treaty country) after reaching 8 years, or having the US authorities initiate the loss of permanent resident status (which would be guaranteed to happen if they seek reentry – without a returning resident visa or reentry permit – after having being out of the US for over a year)
Quarterly Renunciations appear to be steadily gaining attention in the mainstream media. 776 for Q3 is still only a drop in the bucket, but one can only imagine how high the numbers would really be if there were not so many obstacles placed in front of people wanting to renounce: i.e. general fear of renunciation process, particularly for non-filers; long waiting times for appointments; high renunciation fees; potential exit tax; threat of never seeing family again (Reed Amendment); emotional distraught etc.
ABC News: Record Number of Americans Renouncing Citizenship Because of Overseas Tax Burdens
CNBC: Bulk of Americans abroad want to give up citizenship
CNBC: Is giving up citizenship…un-American?
WSJ: More Americans Renounce Citizenship, With 2014 on Pace for a Record
Forbes: 5.5 Million Americans Eye Giving Up U.S. Citizenship, Survey Reveals
I suspect we will soon start to see more article titles like this one:
Many immigrants decline chance to become U.S. citizens
The Obama administration will inevitably try to shift the blame on to everything else other than FATCA and CBT.
Congratulations Carl Levin, you’ve done a real bang-up job on cheapening the value of the US passport.
I missed this one:
Bloomberg: Hundreds Give Up U.S. Passports After New Tax Rules Start
@Tax Samurai: here’s my shot at estimating the proportion of ex-LPRs who are “long term”.
1. Back in 2000 (so before the 2004 AJCA), the IRS estimated that they should be getting 11,000 Form 8854s per year. (They haven’t updated that estimate since then, but for this analysis that shouldn’t matter too much.)
2. Apparently the IRS expected that almost all 8854 filers would be ex-LPRs, and that citizens would only be a tiny proportion. The Federal Register showed only a few hundred names per year back then (keeping in mind that the 1997 lists included a backlog from 1995 and 1996). Those were probably all ex-citizens and not ex-LPRs (legacy INS wasn’t giving the IRS the data it needed to distinguish long-term LPRs from short-term LPRs). That said, I’m confident that back in those days the FR gave a nearly-complete list of ex-citizens: in the period 1997–2000 I only know of a single public figure — a Taiwanese diplomat — who told the media he renounced US citizenship but then never had his name in the FR. (And I suspect the reason is not that the IRS/DoS dropped the ball, but that he’s lying about his renunciation.) So apparently the IRS was expecting nearly the entire 8854 filer population 10k+ ex-LPRs per year with an obligation to file 8854.
3. We don’t have US government data for I-407 filers for years before 2001, but we do have South Korean government data about the number of Koreans giving up US green cards. Back in the late 1990s there were ~3k to ~4k Korean ex-LPRs per year vs. 2k per year today, i.e. 1.5x to 2.0x the present level. In recent years the US government says there have been between 15k and 20k I-407 filers per year, suggesting 20k to 40k back in 1999.
So, from this long and potentially-dubious chain of interpreting data from three government agencies in two different countries, my best guess is that between a quarter and a half of ex-LPRs fall into the “long-term” category.
(The big assumption here is that the South Korean trend of falling GC abandonments generalises to the rest of the LPR population. OTOH if overall GC abandonments remained steady or increased since the late 1990s, that would imply a lower total number of GC abandonments back then, and thus a higher proportion of “long-term” ex-LPRs among them.)
I see the latest comments about long termers. Perhaps I can revise the presentation, but not til late next week, when I guess we will also know the election results.
CNBC “Bulk of Americans abroad want to give up citizenship” is on Yahoo: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/giving-citizenship-un-american-203139695.html
Among other comments:
YES — Continuing expatriations, be they renunciations or claims to relinquishment and very important litigations ARE ABOUT “Having been American and changing things you don’t like and know are unjust.: http://adcs-adsc.ca/
“Being American is more about changing things you don’t like, rather than running away from them. Settlers, farmers, civil rights leaders, labor organizers, entrepreneurs…our history is filled with people who worked to make things for the better. Renouncing citizenship doesn’t look like a very seemly way of rewarding their work and in many cases, their sacrifice. Working that voting angle, maybe even lobbying a few politicians, would seem more appropriate.”
Whoever wrote that needs to read some American history. I would argue that renouncing citizenship is VERY American. After all, that is how the US was created in the first place; former British citizens who were tired of being taxed with no benefit or representation with those who were making the laws and levying the taxes. Trying to change things by voting or lobbying with the current crop of morons in Washington is a non-starter if you are an expat.
In the end, governments who treat their citizens well will gain citizens; those who mistreat their citizens will lose them. The citizens are the ones who get to decide, not governments and certainly not the media.
Don’t governments get to decide who renounces when they price the cost of renouncing out of the reach of many, or regulate the number of people allowed to renounce? That said, many people will just take the informal route and never call themselves an American ever again.
Yes, the US government is trying to stem the tide with bureaucratic and financial roadblocks. They are even breaking their own laws in the process which further discredits their actions. It won’t work; people will always find a way around such barriers when their freedom and financial well-being is at stake.
There is a mass exodus underway and many will simply take on another citizenship, dust off their hands, and never look back. They are unable to fix the illegal immigrant problem so I don’t expect them to fix the “illegal emigrant” problem either.
Homelanders say that the renunciations are insignificant compared to the number of people wanting to immigrate to the US. I say a trickle will still drain a tub. What a stupid, stupid nation to base it’s worth on quantity, not quality.
Well, if that’s the case, then what’s the problem? The US is unlikely to run out of citizens anytime soon. ‘Course the ones who want to leave tend to have assets; the new arrivals are often destitute. Those new arrivals come from such miserable places the US looks good in comparison. Those wanting to exit have found a better place and just want to be left alone to live their lives.
The incoming ones with assets apparently are now smart enough to not become citizens and thus a lifelong US tax slave. If they get a green card they leave before the 8 year mark for the same reason. The word is getting out.
I really think that the increasing number of renunciations is going to be a Presidential election issue for 2016.
The Democrats are pinning their hopes on quietly delaying the appointment times and raising the renunciation fee enough to slow down the flow of renunciations.
The Republicans will gain from the Democrats’ huge blunder by simply pointing out the RNC resolutions against FATCA and in support of RBT. Moreover, they will be able to point out RNC’s support for Jim Bopp’s litigation.
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