A couple of days ago in a reply to the thread about Shulman not accepting a second term as IRS Commissioner, Roger Conklin wrote this:
“Petros, Allow me to make one important clarification: I think you will find that the Expat community voted heavily in favor of Obama because during his campaign he comitted to “level the playling field” for US citizens living abroad. He was very clear in this. But once elected he promptly did nothing to keep this vote-getting commitment. ACA leadership has made many attempts to follow him up on this commitment, but the response has been absolutey zero. It is if this commitment had never been made. His actions speak much louder than his words. I suspect and sincerely hope that in this next election the vote will be very lopsided against him. To those of you who are expats, please keep this in mind.”
I became very curious about this as I was completely unaware of it and so went looking for information about it. As a starting point, I came across this (emphasis added):
Americans abroad are uniquely aware of the impact that our government’s policies have on the rest of the world and recognize that it’s time for America to be seen as a global leader once more. Facing terrorism, climate change, global AIDS, or the spread of weapons of mass destruction, America cannot meet these challenges on its own, and the world cannot defeat them without America. As president, Obama will restore America’s moral leadership in the world and the understanding that the world shares a common security and a common humanity. Obama understands the special concerns and issues of Americans living abroad and will seek to address these as president.
Strengthen Economic Security for Americans Abroad:
Barack Obama believes that the U.S. government should pay close attention to how American citizens are treated in the private sector while they live and work abroad. Our government must work to ensure that overseas Americans have every chance to compete on a level playing field, and he will work with Americans abroad to identify and understand problems they may face as a result of U.S. government policies.
Responding to Social Security Concerns:
As president, Obama will make sure that the Social Security Administration guidelines on receiving Social Security benefits abroad are made more accessible to overseas Americans. He will ensure that the U.S. State Department works with U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates, which are usually the point of contact for Social Security beneficiaries living abroad, to ensure that embassy officials are properly trained on Social Security issues..
Each year, several thousand children of Americans living abroad are denied U.S. citizenship, and some are born “stateless,” without any nationality or citizenship. Barack Obama is committed to addressing these effects on travel abroad, immigration of family members, and citizenship in a manner that protects American interests. In an Obama administration, the U.S. State Department will work to ensure that U.S. regulations on reporting the birth of a child born to an American parent abroad are more widely communicated to Americans living abroad. Obama will also work to ensure U.S. embassies andconsulates streamline the citizenship claim process for American children born abroad.
Obama supports vigorous efforts to ensure that American citizens abroad have the ability to exercise their voting rights. He supports efforts like “VoteFromAbroad.org” that seek to make the overseas voting process more transparent and accessible for Americans abroad. Obama supports theOverseas Vote Act, the Overseas Voting Practical Amendments Act of 2007, and full funding to implement the Help America Vote Act.
Census of Americans Abroad:
The U.S. Census currently does not count American citizens living outside the U.S. Obama supports efforts to find an efficient and accurate procedure to count Americans living abroad in the U.S. Census.
Concerns of Americans Living Abroad:
Obama believes it is important to understand the role of Americans abroad in determining U.S. policy. Obama will work with members of the Americans abroad community and the U.S. embassies to determine how the U.S. government can be responsive to the concerns of overseas Americans. As a U.S. Senator, Obama has taken seriously the concerns of all Illinoisans, whether they are currently in Illinois or not. As president, Obama will work to establish a direct dialogue with Americans abroad.
Other Governmental Services and Benefits:
Americans living abroad have little access to basic information about U.S. government services and affairs. Barack Obama believes that U.S. embassies and consulates, which are the main U.S. government contact points for Americans abroad, should develop and implement concrete plans on how to communicate basic information to Americans living abroad. Additionally, Obama supports efforts to ensure that U.S. State Department staff members have proper training to assist Americans abroad in determining their various rights and responsibilities as American citizens. He welcomes a continued dialogue between the White House, the State Department, and citizens abroad in an Obama administration.
I suppose none of these ideas are new to us but it was certainly new to me that we were promised this by a future Obama presidency. At the time though, I would not have realized the ramifications as I was blissfully ignorant at that point of FUBAR, FATCA, OVDI, etc. I now wish I had simply not voted in 2008.
I am especially amused at the mention that “several thousand children of Americans living abroad are denied U.S. citizenship; we certainly don’t seem to have a problem with that here in Canada. The US retroactively applies citizenship here; anyone know where this is happening? And if so, is this just due to a 2nd country not recognizing dual citizenship? It would be nice to hear if there will indeed, be any efforts to set up a Census as well as seeing that DOS trains staff to assist in “determining their various rights and responsibilities as American citizens.” Perhaps something more than a line buried in the back of passports?