DEAR OVERSEAS AMERICAN FRIENDS,
I thought you’d enjoy the following letter and the three attachments.
I’ve been trying for nearly a year, and without success so far, to get some very basic statistics from the State Department.
State claims that they don’t have these statistics even though every embassy and consulate has to submit them each year. I don’t believe they actually throw them away, but, then again, you never know!
Anyway, it is just another sad example of how indifferent State is, and has long been, to our concerns while we live abroad.
Enjoy, and hopefully you might want to join this Tea Party and send your own similar FOI request.
It would be very interesting to see how they would respond when they had hundreds of the same request in their mail box coming in from all over the world.
The first step is rather simple, and can be done right on the State Department website at http://www.state.gov/m/a/ips/
Take care, Andy
ANDREW P. SUNDBERG
9 August 2012
Office of Information Programs and Services
Room 8100, SA-2,
U.S. Department of State,
Washington, D.C. 20522-8100.
Nearly a year ago, on August 17th, 2011, I filed a Freedom of Information Request via the State Department’s website asking for data, by year and by overseas U.S. Embassy and Consulate, on the number of U.S. citizens who had renounced their U.S. citizenship, going back to 1963.
To my great surprise, and dismay, nearly eight months later I received a letter from the State Department, dated April 9, 2012, indicating that the State Department has no such statistical data in its files.
On April 16th, 2012, I filed an appeal to the Chairman of the Department’s Appeals Review Panel, and this appeal was confirmed in a letter that you signed and sent to me on 4 May 2012. You also indicated that the Case Number for this FOI Case is No. 201107020. (See attachment 1).
Since then, now more than three months ago, I have not had any further contact from the State Department on this FOI request.
I have subsequently, however, come across a very rich and relevant Congressional document that hopefully will assist the State Department in finally and efficiently fulfilling this request.
This document is a report dated 1 June, 1995, prepared by the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation of the U.S. Congress, entitled “Issues Presented by Proposals to Modify the Tax Treatment of Expatriation”. (The title page of this report is attachment 2)
Page 7 of this report shows the number of renunciations of U.S. citizenship at U.S. Embassies and Consulates all over the world for each year from 1962 to 1994, as documented by the State Department. These apparently are the total numbers of “Certificates of Loss of Nationality” that were issued to renunciators each year during this period by the State Department. (See attachment 3).
Pages G-55 to G-60 of this report is a letter dated May 9, 1995, from Wendy R. Sherman, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, addressed to Hon. Robert Packwood, Vice Chairman, Joint Committee on Taxation, United States Senate, which indicates the total numbers of renunciations of U.S. citizenship at U.S. Embassies and Consulates all over the world during the period 1980 to 1994. (See attachment 4).
As it is now perfectly clear and demonstrable that the State Department does indeed collect and retain this data, I would like to once again request that under the current provisions of the Freedom of Information Act you please make this information on the number of Certificates of Loss of Nationality during each year available to me as soon as possible.
Furthermore, as this information has to be aggregated from reports filed by each Embassy and Consulate, I am sure that you also have this information on a per Embassy/Consulate basis, and therefore I would like to once again request that the breakdown of this data by Embassy/Consulate each year from 1963 to 2011 be also made available as soon as possible. A recently retired Foreign Service Officer confirmed to me that each Embassy and Consulate does indeed file reports on the number of such renunciations that take place and the number of certifications of renunciation that are issued each year, so this basic data is obviously coming into the State Department.
Finally, by current law, the State Department is required to send the names of those who renounce U.S. citizenship to the IRS, and each Quarter the IRS publishes names of some renunciators. But the big unanswered question remains of whether these names published by the IRS are all of those who have renounced, or just some of them.
From conversations with some who have renounced during recent years, it is also obvious that the annual quarters of the year when these names are published are not directly related to the quarters during which these renunciations actually took place. And some also claim that their names never showed up on the IRS lists. These are yet more reasons why I am asking the State Department for assistance in the long overdue clarification of this matter.
Therefore, to clear up all of this data size and date of occurrence uncertainty, I am once again appealing, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, for data on all renunciations that have taken place by year, and by Embassy/Consular Post, since 1963.
I eagerly await you response. My kindest regards and thanks in advance for your assistance.
All the very best.
1: Copy of your letter of 4 May 2012. (not included).
2: Title page of Congressional JTC Report of 1 June 1995. (see attached).
3. Page 7 of this JTC Report. (see attached).
4. Pages G-55 to G-60 of this JTC Report. (see attached).