[If you were born in the U.S. but have lived your whole adult life outside the U.S., are you an American citizen because the United States says that you are? But what if you, a citizen and resident of Canada, France, whatever, don't consent to be an American citizen? Do you still defer to a foreign (U.S.) law regarding your own citizenship --- because... it's U.S. law? Yes?
Readers, the comments below are wide-ranging and for the most part don't seem to wrestle with the central issue of the present post: This post focuses ONLY on the very simple question whether the term "Accidental American [Citizen]” as presently used is ACCURATE — not whether the term is expedient or useful or fair or equals slavery. The U.S. Department of State insists that such persons, born in the U.S. but having no other ties and living their lives in foreign countries (like our Canadian Plaintiffs), ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS irrespective of their consent.
Do YOU agree (i.e., defer to U.S. on this) or not that these people ARE American citizens? Answers could be yes, no, sometimes-it depends, etc., with an explanation.]
This has been said before, but this post argues yet again that it is illogical, inappropriate, and harmful for the term “Accidental American” to be used.
USCitizenAbroad (USCA) recently commented on a post in which “JR”, a citizen and resident of France, who was born in the United States, argues in an EU Parliament petition, that France/EU compliance with the U.S. FATCA law adversely affects people like the petitioner who are “Accidental Americans”.
JR describes his “accident of birth on American soil” as “a congenital disease”.
USCA responds by making this simple point on use of the term “Accidental American”:
“The time has come to RETIRE the term “Accidental American”.
The term suggests that the petitioner “JR” and others like him are “Americans” of any kind at all.
He is NOT an American of any kind and neither is a single person who was born in the USA, left the USA as a child, and has never held himself out as a U.S. citizen.
He is a “carbon life form” who is simply being claimed by the United States as U.S. property. Nothing more and nothing less….”
“…To date, the world has deferred to U.S. law to answer the question of whether someone is a “U.S. citizen”. I believe that is the wrong question. It leads to absurd results and it allows U.S. lawyers to effectively impose unwanted U.S. citizenship on people with no U.S. connection…”
—- If we accept (contrary to opinion of US Department of State and Tax Attorneys) that the United States does not have the right to impose unilaterally citizenship-without-consent on residents of other countries and that the term “Accidental American” obviously implies (incorrectly) that the person is in fact an American — can we then agree that the term “Accidental American” should henceforth not be used?
— If we assume that the above logic is correct, what then should be the reasonable obligations to the United States (a foreign country) for the millions of persons resident outside the U.S who have been previously described inappropriately as “Accidental Americans”?
FURTHER THOUGHTS FOLLOWING SOME COMMENTS OF THE READERS:
Is the consensus here pretty much that one must defer only to United States law on the legitimacy of imposition of U.S. citizenship without consent on citizen-residents of a foreign country…?
Listening to the EU Court petition made by JR, born in the U.S. but a long-term citizen-resident of France, it appears that JR accepts (defers to, does not dispute) the unpleasant position of the U.S. that he is (his word) “contaminated” with U.S. citizenship. I suppose then that a case could be made that JR is in fact a real (“accepting”) U.S. citizen.
— On the other hand, Gwen, one of our born-in-the-U.S. Canadian Plaintiffs who left U.S. at young age, confirmed to me yet again (today) that notwithstanding the position of the U.S. Department of State, she is not an American, accidental or otherwise. She is a very strong-minded person of standing who does not accept the label.