“In this Essay, Professor Patrick Weil reexamines the constitutional function of the passport in relation to American citizenship. The State Department recently developed a policy of passport revocation whereby some Americans are transformed into de facto stateless persons….
The article approaches the issue of revoking passports for any reason. Revoking passports of unsuspecting U.S. citizens overseas was enacted in the 2015 FAST Act. If a person owes $50,000 in taxes, a passport may be revoked. In the propoganda that was released with the passing of the bill, it was said that this bill was written to catch people in America who had not paid their taxes and who may want to flee the country. However, the bill has lots of text relating to the revocation of the passport for all purposes except for the expat to return to the Homeland. This bill was written to enforce the FATCA dragnet.
“The State Department seems to be abusing its power with passport revocation—unknowingly in the case of Snowden, as the Department could at first glance rely on a jurisprudence that seemed until recently to favor executive power, and willfully in the case of the Yemeni Americans. It therefore seems that it is time for courts confronted with passport revocations to reexamine the constitutional function of the passport and its status in relation to American citizens who, since Afroyim, have gained more protection over their citizenship in relation to the state—including in relation to the Secretary of State. Today it is commonplace to say that new technologies infringe upon civil liberties—they often do. However, in the case of passports and the essential right of Americans to maintain a legal identity, new technologies offer an avenue to protect that very right. By affirming both that a passport belongs among the privileges and immunities of an American abroad and that the Secretary of State cannot revoke a passport as a matter of administrative routine, courts could make the passport an almost inalienable auxiliary of the American citizen abroad: the symbol and substance of an irreducible citizenship which the Supreme Court has already proclaimed.”