The latest Report on Active Records in the NICS Index, released a couple of days earlier than normal, shows 24,220 records in the “Renounced U.S. Citizenship” category, down by two from the February 2014 report. (On the other hand, the number of people who were caught trying to use an ex-citizen’s identity to buy firearms has reached 61, according to the Federal Denials Report).
Months in which zero records get added to the renunciations category are hardly a rare occurrence; the most recent such case before this was in December 2012. That was also the same quarter for which the IRS reported a laughably implausible total of 45 people giving up U.S. citizenship or long-held green cards. This suggests that the problem was at the State Department, rather than any of the downstream agencies: after the CLN overseers in the Bureau of Consular Affairs handed more than three thousand ex-citizens’ records over to the FBI in October to clear up their backlog, they apparently decided to go into hibernation and put off all their work until the warmer seasons when acorns resumed their traditional abundance and they could feast to their hearts’ delight.
Comparisons with other countries’ data
Our previous assumption that the FBI & Federal Register numbers could be used to check each other’s data quality rested on the belief that the IRS was the source of the problems in the Federal Register list. But if the problems are at State, all bets are off, especially since State has repeatedly refused to accomodate FOIA requests from Global News and Shadow Raider for information on the total number of CLNs issued. Instead, we have to look to non-U.S. data to try to understand trends in renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
In comments to the previous post on NICS, Innocente did some analysis on the latest Eurostat figures on “Acquisition of citizenship by sex, age group and former citizenship” in 2012, and found that “Seven of eight [European] countries showed an increase in naturalization by US citizens for the year 2012 vs. the average for 2007 to 2011”; across the eight countries, naturalisations by U.S. citizens increased by roughly one-fifth, from five thousand per year in the earlier period to six thousand per year in 2012.
|Country||Naturalisations by U.S. citizens|
|Average until 2011||2012||Increase
Of course, most of those people probably have not given up U.S. citizenship. Even in Germany, a country which is traditionally viewed as disallowing dual citizenship, from what I can understand of the Federal Statistical Office report on the subject, among 756 naturalisations by U.S. citizens in 2012 (slightly greater than the total of 754 they indicated to Eurostat), only 83 (11%) occurred under legal provisions which would forbid the applicants to retain their earlier citizenship.
However, naturalising outside of the U.S. is another one of those steps, like not registering your childrens’ births with the U.S. consulate, which opens up more possibilities. Mentally, it constitutes recognition of the fact that you really are a member of the society in which you live and that you may be spending the rest of your life there, regardless of your ancestral ties to another country. And legally, it means that if FATCA or other laws really make it impossible for you to continue living a normal life in the country of your choosing, you have another option besides surrendering and moving back to the Homeland: you will know that you can give up your U.S. citizenship.