The Supreme Court decision in Afroyim v. Rusk was a key decision in the evolution of US citizenship law, leading to the current policy that, in order to lose one’s citizenship when performing a potentially relinquishing act, one must have the intent to lose it when so doing. Previously, a person performing such an act could lose their citizenship regardless of intent. In this decision, the Court refers to depriving a person of their US citizenship involuntarily as “forcible destruction of citizenship.” John Richardson discusses the Afroyim decision and questions whether the punitive taxation of US citizens abroad also results in the “forcible destruction of citizenship.” (posted with permission)
The United States of America is the ONLY country in the world that both:
1. Confers citizenship by birth inside the country; AND
2. Imposes worldwide taxation and regulation based on citizenship.
Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that:
US citizenship is the world’s only true “taxation-based citizenship”.
Afroyim – Should extending constitutional status to US citizenship be understood as a new gift or exacerbating an old curse?
US Citizenship Stripping Before 1967 – The Significance Of Afroyim
The US government was stripping US citizens of their citizenship if they committed various “expatriating” acts. This was codified in statutes that mandated that certain kinds of conduct would result in the loss of US citizenship. At various times the expatriating conduct included (but was not limited to): naturalizing as a citizen of another country, voting in a foreign election, serving in the armed forces of a foreign country and even marrying a non-citizen.
US Citizenship Stripping After 1967 – Afroyim
The 1967 US Supreme Court decision in Afroyim clarified that Congress lacked the power to strip US citizens (who were born or naturalized in the United States) of their citizenship. The Afroyim ruling clarified that:
1. US citizenship belonged to the citizen and could be lost by the citizen only if the citizen voluntarily relinquished US citizenship by voluntarily committing an expatriating act with the intention of relinquishing US citizenship; and
2. Congress cannot enact laws or engage in practices that result in the forcible destruction of citizenship.
How this happened
1967 – Beys Afroyim Visits The Supreme Court Of The United States
On May 29, 1967 the Supreme Court of the United States delivered its judgment in Afroyim v. Rusk. It is inconceivable that Mr. Afroyim, his lawyers, the Supreme Court justices or the public could have foreseen the monumental consequences of the decision. Although citizenship taxation was never mentioned in the ruling, the truth is that Justice Black’s majority decision in Afroyim planted the seed which grew into the FATCA and citizenship taxation problems leading to the renunciations of today.