Skip to comments.Thatís it, Uncle Sam: The author renounces his US citizenship
Posted on 08/10/2006 7:25:32 AM PDT by Pokey78
Right. Thats it. Entre nous cest terminé. After 42 happy years I am getting a divorce from America. From the very emerging of my childhood consciousness I have been aware that in the eyes of billions of people around the world I have won first prize in the lottery of life. I possess it, the thing competed for by everyone from Rupert Murdoch to the most desperate Mexican wetback, and I have it by simple dint of my nativity, on the Puerto Rican Health Scheme, in New York General Hospital, NY, NY.
I am entitled to an American passport. I must confess that this knowledge used vaguely to tinge my sense of identity. My brothers and sisters are British, and so are my parents, and I would like you to know that I am a loyal subject of Her Majesty, speak in an English accent, and for years I have travelled exclusively on a British passport. But my first passport was green, and when we landed at Dover or Heathrow I felt secretly cool to be the one to present his document to be stamped.
Mine were the credentials furnished by the most powerful nation on earth, and signed by former secretary of state Dean Rusk; and when the going has got tough in England it has sometimes crossed my mind that I could yet activate the Schwarzenegger option and flee to the land of opportunity, perhaps beginning as a short-order chef in Miami before winding up as Colorado senator and, inevitably, president.
Always glowing at the back of my mind has been the light from that unused escape hatch. Lets face it, folks, we manage to endure so many of our earthly captivities by fantasising that we have somewhere a half-open door to another job, another career, another life, or indeed, if we are religious, a life of the world to come. The mere thought of that door is a consolation, even if, as things turn out, we never actually go through it.
Well, as of this week I slam that door shut, and in some indignation. It is not just that I no longer want an American passport. In fact, what I want is the right not to have an American passport, and it is that right, astoundingly, that the Americans are reluctant to give me.
Last Sunday lunchtime we were boarding a flight to Mexico, via Houston, Texas, and we presented six valid British passports. As soon as the Continental Airlines security guy saw my passport, he shook his head. Were you born in New York? he asked. Have you ever carried an American passport?
Yes, I said, but it had long since expired. I am afraid we have a problem, he said. The US Immigration say you have to travel on an American passport if you want to enter the United States. B-but Im British, I said, and my children chorused their agreement. Had the guy stuck around a moment longer, I would have told him how jolly British I was but luckily for him hed gone off in search of reinforcements.
When the ranking officer arrived, the story was the same. Im sorry, sir, he said, but youll have to go to the US Embassy tomorrow morning and get a new American passport. But I dont want an American passport, I said, inspiration striking me. I tell you what: I renounce my American citizenship. I disclaim it. I discard it.
Thats not good enough, sir, he said. I need some official document saying that you are no longer American, and that, of course, is the point of this piece.
I make this formal, public, and, I hope, legally valid renunciation, because as a result of this moronic rule I had to ask my wife (who bore this latest cock-up with amazing good humour) to take the children on her own to Houston, and I then had to spend a stonking sum on another ticket. Because the Americans insisted I was American, and that it was only as an American that I could travel to America, America was the one country that I had to avoid.
So I circumnavigated America. I flew via Madrid, managing to beat the rest of my family to Mexico by 45 minutes; and yet I still seethe. Its not just the stupidity of the rule that gets me. Its the arrogance. What other country insists that because you can be one of its nationals, then you must be one of its nationals? Imagine if we told all British-born Americans that they could not arrive in this country except by use of a British passport. I havent seen anything so insanely possessive since the negotiations on the Common Fisheries Policy, when the Irish used to claim that the cod stocks of the Atlantic were still Irish in their fishy souls, even though they had long since emigrated to Portuguese waters.
As far as I can interpret the psychology of the rule, which has only been applied since 9/11, it is part of Americas new them-and-us mentality, the Manichaean division of the world into Americans and non-Americans, obliterating any category in between. Listen, buddy, the Americans seem to be saying. You got a right to be American? Then you do us the courtesy of travelling on the worlds number one passport when you come here. What you got to be ashamed of, boy?
Well, I love America. But I dont like being pushed around and kicked off flights to what, after all, they claim is my home country. Condi, Mr Ambassador, whoever is in charge I hereby renounce my birthright. Strike me off the list.
Consider me, as you put it, an alien. Even as I write these words I am conscious of the huge potential benefits my children will now never have. Of course, it is true that it is not all jam, carrying an American passport. You tend to be first overboard when your ship is hijacked by Arabs; but then these days the Brits walk the plank pretty soon, too; and think of the advantages, that priceless sense of civis Americanus sum; that the sanctity of your life is guaranteed by the hyperpower.
Compare Americas tigerish love of her children with the pitiless indifference we show to British passport-holders from Zimbabwe. The Americans would never allow me to be tried by an international court. The Americans would never let me be extradited to face trial in the UK, even if particularly if I was involved in IRA atrocities, while we supinely offer up our subjects without demanding any evidence whatsoever.
These blessings must now remain untested by me and my descendants, and I tender my resignation from the United States, with sadness, but in the knowledge that she is probably big enough to rub along without me. Goodbye and God bless, America.
The author is obviosly a leftist.
Pretty much not, no.
You do know we are talking about a British man who lives in Britain? He's not Alec Baldwin, forever defiantly leaving America and wiping the dust off his feet. He is British and lives in Henley, and has done (as far as I know) for decades. Why should his British passport be invalided - in the eyes of American passport authorities - by the fact that he was born in America?
If Catherine Zeta Jones - born in Britain - were to visit her homeland, would she be held at customs like Boris? No. So why is it ok the other way around?
Awww . . . my baby's becoming a redneck!
Cute read. I'm just... not.... "feeling his pain".
The list of British people whose British passports are being denied due to the accident of their birth? That list?
I love FR, but the ability of people to post without reading or understanding the article leaves me speechless...
Man you said it.
Choke on a crumpet, ya poof!
Yes, I get it, thanks. But why would a Conservative British MP be put on an Terrorist Watch List just because he was born in America? Is it because he has had to renounce his American Citizenship in order for American Customs to recognise the fact that he is a British citizen?
We don't do this in reverse. I gave an example previously of Catherine Zeta Jones. British-born: she had a British passport and now has an American one. We wouldn't force her to regain her British passport before allowing her to enter the country. We recognise American passports as belonging to friends and allies. So why do American customs not return the favour?
I'd love to know what percentage of people who have posted to this thread read beyond the headline of the article!
Hmm, I hope my last post didn't come across as being snarky. There's been a lot of aggravating noise on this thread which has been making me punchy I guess. I'm going home now: no doubt this oddly mis-read article will reappear tomorrow.
It works out as 3.116 % :0)
I guess FReepers just got used to Baldwin, Moore, Streisand, Sarandon, and various gay journalists forswearing their homeland in print every few days. Boris Johnson's amiable goodbye to the kafka-esque American Passport office just seemed like more of the same, maybe. Anyway, good night to one and all.
" It's not because he was born in America, it's because he's become a British MP."
That doesn't appear anywhere in the article and certainly isn't what Boris is saying that US customs said to him. He hasn't recently become an MP by the way, he was elected in 2001.
"you cannot hold a position in a foreign government, and retain your US citizenship"
Again, they didn't say he had to renounce his citizenship. They said that if he retained his US citizenship, he could not use his British passport to enter the US, despite the fact that he is British.
His departure raises the average IQ of two countries.
But Sir, he didn't maintain it. Otherwise American customs would hardly have asked him to regain it. And nor was any of this about Boris Johnson being an awesome potentate of Her Majesty's Britannic Empire. American Customs didn't know he was a Member of Parliament when they stopped him.
This article was about the unusual "clinginess" of the technical definition of American citizenhood. Not about anything else. I can't see why 97% of posters to this thread are horribly affronted by Boris cutting his purely notional tie with America. He is not an American. He does not live there. Boris likes America and defends it in print - and in the article clearly regards it as the great hope of mankind - despite the inane quirks of its customs office..
Sorry, absolutely got to get home now
Another good reason why everyone should just have ONE citizenship.
"The State Department has even issued recommendations that if you can use another country's passport to do so rather than your American issued passport."
Not when you're going to America, they don't. This guy was planning to travel to the USA. As a US citizen, with a British passport, because he let his US passport expire while he was outside the USA.
If you plan on going to Israel, and to Saudi Arabia, maybe using another country's passport for the trip to Israel might be a good idea (actually, it would be). But not to the US.
It's a rule. What, you think I made it?
Nothing was directed at you personally, you were the only person responding so the only person per getting posted, please see my first post on the thread # 75.
I hope you have a good weekend.
well, bye! Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!
You wait! some moonbat is going to read this thread- and your post- and report to Cindy with a BRILLIANT plan to get her some MEDIA attention......
I stand corrected.
He loves America?
I read the article....
If he LOVED America- he would recognize that the "passport" issue is there to PROTECT AMERICA- for starters....
Also- he would not be writing a public claim of wanting a divorce form America over THIS ONE ISSUE!
LOVING America is a lot more than enjoying her freedoms- the benefits of her capitalism- and lip service.
LOVING AMERICA is being EAGER to make sacrafices for her. For her strength, growth, and her survival.
He was trying to enter the US via plane and had passport issues. I'd like to see the part in the security manual that says- "If subject has a jolly British accent, by all means, ignore all laws and procedures. Buy the chap a brew."
He is a fraud, a liar, a whiner, and a PUTZ.......
I don't think his 'divorce' request is 'just because'. It is obviously brought on by sillyness of reading his birthplace as taking precedence over the facts of citizenship on his passport.
Interesting piece. He is not derogatory in any way to our country, in fact he is complementary - he just points out a stupid process, or interpretation of ones birthplace in these post 9/11 times as taking precedence over the facts of ones nationality as professed in their passport. He makes a very good point in showing how stupid our immigration policy can be and often is.
it appears that many people responding here have not read the article ... just want to throw rocks at his supposed un-american ranting, which it really isn't.
If he LOVES the USA (as he said), why did he let his passport expire from a country HE LOVES?
Sounds like he wants it both ways. He wants to be treated as an American, but he didn't go through the proper procedure to keep up his American passport.
He wants to live his life as if it isn't important to keep his American status current -- until he wants to enter the U.S. Then he says -- Opppps.
WTF should I care?
Does he have extra one-way tickets (send Sheehan with him)?
I agree with you.
Fine, Boris. Go. Don't let the door hit you on the backside on the way out, you ingrate.
"If he LOVED America- he would recognize that the "passport" issue is there to PROTECT AMERICA- for starters"
Explain? How is America endangered by allowing him to use his perfectly valid British passport? If he renounces his citizenship, why does it then become safe to allow him to use the same British passport again?
"Also- he would not be writing a public claim of wanting a divorce form America over THIS ONE ISSUE!"
He doesn't claim to 'want' a divorce, it is the only option which will allow him to use his British passport as a British citizen. If this was his desired outcome, I doubt Boris would have gone to the trouble of writing an article about it.
Boris is, believe it or not, a Conservative MP. He really seems to like himself.
He's got a pretty high opinion of himself. Good bye Boris.