Friday, July 22, 2022

Permanent and irrevocable

The Spectator asks: Can an American citizen renounce his citizenship?:
American idiot and Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong said he is going to renounce his US citizenship and move to England because he is so upset over the Supreme Court overturning the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade....

[Y]ou can’t just renounce your citizenship, onstage or elsewhere. It’s done by appointment only. The American government must approve your renunciation and can say no, no matter how loudly you say yes. ....

To begin, Billie Joe would need to make an appointment at the nearest American embassy or consulate. You can’t begin the renunciation process in America.... At the embassy, Armstrong will fill out some forms. He can Google and complete but not sign them. Most of the requested information is pretty vanilla stuff, and is largely to make sure the singer understands what he is doing and the consequences of doing it.

...[B]arring certain highly specific situations, renouncing citizenship is a one-way street. The US government considers it a permanent, irrevocable decision. Billie Joe can’t come home should some future iteration of the Supremes restore Roe.

No one at the embassy can approve or deny your application to renounce. That is done by someone you will never meet, located in Washington, DC. Without that approval, you remain an American citizen. ....

If Billie Joe is denied his renunciation and forced to remain an American, it would typically be for his own good, to avoid him becoming stateless and thus deportable (to where?) from the UK. Renunciation only means that, as of a certain moment, Armstrong stops being an American citizen. .... With his American passport gone, Armstrong will have no passport. He is thus at that moment illegally in Britain and subject to deportation. Since he is not an American (or a Greek or a Lithuanian or a…) he has nowhere to go, a literal man without a country. ....
From Edward Everett Hale, The Man Without a Country (1863):
.... Nolan was proved guilty enough, as I say; yet you and I would never have heard of him, reader, but that, when the president of the court asked him at the close whether he wished to say anything to show that he had always been faithful to the United States, he cried out, in a fit of frenzy,—

"Damn the United States! I wish I may never hear of the United States again!"

I suppose he did not know how the words shocked old Colonel Morgan, who was holding the court. Half the officers who sat in it had served through the Revolution, and their lives, not to say their necks, had been risked for the very idea which he so cavalierly cursed in his madness. .... He had sworn on his faith as a Christian to be true to "United States." It was "United States" which gave him the uniform he wore, and the sword by his side. ....

He never did hear her name but once again. From that moment, Sept. 23, 1807, till the day he died, May 11, 1863, he never heard her name again. For that half-century and more he was a man without a country. .... (download the e-book)
"...Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung"

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