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Thatís it, Uncle Sam: The author renounces his US citizenship
The Spectator (U.K.) ^ | 08/12/06 | Boris Johnson

Posted on 08/10/2006 7:25:32 AM PDT by Pokey78

Right. That’s it. Entre nous c’est 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. Let’s 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 I’m 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 he’d gone off in search of reinforcements.

When the ranking officer arrived, the story was the same. ‘I’m sorry, sir,’ he said, ‘but you’ll have to go to the US Embassy tomorrow morning and get a new American passport.’ But I don’t want an American passport, I said, inspiration striking me. I tell you what: I renounce my American citizenship. I disclaim it. I discard it.

‘That’s 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. It’s not just the stupidity of the rule that gets me. It’s 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 haven’t 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 America’s 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 world’s number one passport when you come here. What you got to be ashamed of, boy?

Well, I love America. But I don’t 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 America’s 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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: bloodygit; blowhard; borisjohnson; doornobrearend; goodriddance; nowthatsanopus; vsign; weareinconsolablenot
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To: Old Student
The one thing that would indicate that he did not INTEND to give up his US citizenship would be to maintain his US passport

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

121 posted on 08/10/2006 12:07:58 PM PDT by agere_contra
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To: Canard
"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."

Except that he had a US passport, which he apparently allowed to lapse. If he has (or has had) a US passport, he's American, not British. If he's (by law) American, he needs a US passport to travel outside the country. If he doesn't want to get one, either he can forget entering the US on his British passport, or he can renounce his citizenship. Which will likely trigger his addition to the Terrorist Watch List, these days. The US recognizes dual citizenship, sort of, but does not recommend it, and if you want to maintain it, there are certain things you must do, like maintaining your US citizenship and visiting the US regularly. If you intend to maintain your US citizenship, you are not supposed to do anything that indicates you might intend to renounce it, either. Once upon a time, and not all that long ago, holding elected office or serving in a foreign military resulted in automatic loss of citizenship. This could even happen to those who did not hold dual citizenship, btw. It's still a factor in determining intention to renounce US citizenship.
122 posted on 08/10/2006 12:13:50 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: agere_contra
"But Sir, he didn't maintain it. Otherwise American customs would hardly have asked him to regain it. "

See my post #122, which I was apparently composing when you posted. Have a good evening, FRiend. Sometime again!
123 posted on 08/10/2006 12:17:36 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: Old Student
My take on the article is that he is British and happened to be born in New York.
I did not get the impression he has ever resided in the States, he even states at the beginning of the article though rather oddly he is an American citizen basically b accident of birth. I would safe it is a timing issue. I don't know why he had an American passport, but I would suspect with an American Birth certificate it was easier to get an American passport when he was a baby to go home to jolly old England.
I still don't understand the rule requiring entry under an American passport if you are entitled to another countries passport and choose to use the other passport.
124 posted on 08/10/2006 1:24:03 PM PDT by thinkthenpost
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To: Pokey78
In the words of Opera Man;

BYE BYE!!!!!!!!!!


125 posted on 08/10/2006 3:46:36 PM PDT by BerniesFriend
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To: thinkthenpost
"I did not get the impression he has ever resided in the States, he even states at the beginning of the article though rather oddly he is an American citizen basically b accident of birth. "

If he was born here, and hasn't already renounced citizenship, he's an American citizen. By Law. If his parents were tourists or resident aliens, by the laws of Great Britain, he may also have citizenship there, but by our law, he is one of us. Period. I got the impression from the article that he's traveled here on an American passport before, and just failed to renew it, and that is why he was told he needed to renew if he wanted to reenter the US. A passport is only good for 7 years, unless they've changed since I last had one, a little over ten years ago.
126 posted on 08/10/2006 4:07:45 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: Old Student

Another good reason why everyone should just have ONE citizenship.


127 posted on 08/10/2006 6:35:48 PM PDT by Democratshavenobrains
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To: Democratshavenobrains
My two oldest children were born in Germany. My family is of German descent. If I had wanted to, they could have been holders of dual citizenship. Didn't happen for several reasons:

1. They are Americans, just like their mama and daddy.
2. The more time I spent in Germany, the more I understood why my great'greatgrandfather left.
3. Why would anyone want to be anything else?

I'm not a sports fan, but this was a clear case of "slam dunk" if ever there was one.
128 posted on 08/10/2006 6:42:21 PM PDT by Old Student (WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.))
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To: Old Student
That does not address the requiring a person to travel to the United States with a State Department issued passport if they are also legally entitled to another countries passport. You seem to advocate citizenship documentation for international travel from your birth country only which may be fine, but currently is not the international standard. 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.
It just seems like a solution with little or no problem.
129 posted on 08/11/2006 8:15:05 AM PDT by thinkthenpost
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To: thinkthenpost

"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.


130 posted on 08/11/2006 10:12:44 AM PDT by Old Student (We have a name for the people who think indiscriminate killing is fine. They're called "The Bad Guys)
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To: Old Student
"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."

Actually he was planning on landing in Houston and continuing to Mexico without leaving the airport and depending on how Houston Intercontinental is set up I would guess without leaving the International Terminal.

Again I ask why MUST he use an American passport, what is the reason for the rule?
131 posted on 08/11/2006 10:25:47 AM PDT by thinkthenpost
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To: thinkthenpost

It's a rule. What, you think I made it?


132 posted on 08/11/2006 10:35:25 AM PDT by Old Student (We have a name for the people who think indiscriminate killing is fine. They're called "The Bad Guys)
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To: Old Student

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.


133 posted on 08/11/2006 10:47:13 AM PDT by thinkthenpost
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To: keithtoo
Americans don't name their kids Boris - this guy is a fraud.

Speaking as a "Boris" you couldn't be more wrong. I'm American through and through, and the other Boris can kiss my American A##.
134 posted on 08/11/2006 10:52:44 AM PDT by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: Pokey78

well, bye! Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!


135 posted on 08/11/2006 10:53:42 AM PDT by lawgirl (She comes on like thunder and she's more right than rain)
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To: rightwingintelligentsia

LOL!!!

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......


136 posted on 08/11/2006 10:56:22 AM PDT by eeevil conservative (JOHN BOLTON FOR PRESIDENT)
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To: Kozak

I stand corrected.


137 posted on 08/11/2006 10:58:51 AM PDT by keithtoo (Israeli defense strategy "Cogito Ergo Boom!")
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To: agere_contra

what?

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.......


138 posted on 08/11/2006 11:08:38 AM PDT by eeevil conservative (JOHN BOLTON FOR PRESIDENT)
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To: Lazamataz

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.


139 posted on 08/11/2006 1:29:35 PM PDT by AgThorn (Bush is my president, but he needs to protect our borders. FIRST, before any talk of "Amnesty.")
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To: agere_contra

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.


140 posted on 08/11/2006 1:30:26 PM PDT by AgThorn (Bush is my president, but he needs to protect our borders. FIRST, before any talk of "Amnesty.")
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