Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later than 30 days after the close of each calendar quarter, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the name of each individual losing United States citizenship (within the meaning of section 877(a) or 877A) with respect to whom the Secretary receives information under the preceding sentence during such quarter.
— 26 USC § 6039G(d), second sentence
For the third time since Jack Lew took office in 2013, he’s managed to meet the 30-day deadline for his quarterly homework, but only by handing in an incomplete assignment. The latest Quarterly Publication of Individuals Who Have Chosen to Expatriate is now available in pre-print PDF form, but it’s just 14 pages long and has barely five hundred names in it. That makes it the second-shortest list during Lew’s term, beaten by only the Q2 2015 list. (Clearly Lew is a firm believer in Petros’ principle that less is better when it comes to complying with the U.S.’ “Internal” Revenue Code.)
Meanwhile, the Renounced United States Citizenship category in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS; note the new web address) went from 33,947 records as of 31 March to 36,028 as of 30 June, an increase of 2,081 records. (And NICS only covers 8 USC § 1481(a)(5) renunciants, not people relinquishing U.S. citizenship under other paragraphs of that same subsection.) Furthermore, based on the response to Shadow Raider’s latest Freedom of Information Act request with USCIS, it looks like about seven or eight thousand people are filing Form I-407 to give up their green cards each quarter. In other words, at least forty thousand people per year are deciding to cut their legal ties with the United States rather than retain or pursue citizenship.
Green card abandoners definitely not in list
The Federal Register list includes a very carefully-worded statement that “[f]or purposes of 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”. Certain inattentive journalists interpret to mean that the list actually includes people who gave up green cards which they’ve held in eight or more of the last fifteen years, but that’s clearly impossible.
The IRS complained more than 15 years ago that they couldn’t include ex-green card holders in the list because the files which the old Immigration and Naturalization Service gave them “do not distinguish former long-term residents from other former green card holders and generally do not include tax identification numbers”. That little inter-agency snafu has continued up to the present day: there’s still nowhere to write your SSN on I-407 even after the recent redesign, and USCIS explicitly stated last year (emphasis mine) that when you file I-407, “we will provide only your name and the filing date to the IRS”.
As always, after the jump please find a table of recent media reports naming individuals who have given up U.S. citizenship.