If you think your U.S. citizenship gives you the right to a U.S. passport, think again.
The government has several ways to cancel or refuse to renew your passport. And now, Congress is poised to give it one more: if you owe money to the IRS.
Hidden within the 2013 highway funding bill are a few paragraphs with the innocent-sounding title of the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act." Section 40304 of this act would revoke your passport if you have a "seriously delinquent tax debt." In other words, if you owe the IRS $50,000 or more, the Feds can revoke your passport. There's no hearing and no opportunity to contest this decision.
How's that for "moving ahead for progress"?
Other Ways the Government Can Grab Your Passport
Of course, the Feds have plenty of other options to prevent you from travelling overseas:
- If a federal court has issued a warrant for your arrest.
- If a federal or state court has ordered you not to leave the United States.
- If another country has requested your extradition.
- If you owe more than $2,500 in delinquent child support payments.
- If doubts arise about the legitimacy of your eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
And speaking of U.S. passport eligibility…
In 2011, the State Department started a new "Biographical Questionnaire" that it's using—probably illegally—to process some applications for U.S. passports. Among numerous other intrusive questions, the State Department wants to know if there were any "religious or institutional recording of your birth or event occurring around the time of birth (Example: baptism, circumcision, confirmation or other religious ceremony.…)"
A revised version of this form deletes this question, but demands other information that you might find impossible to produce. For instance, the Feds want to know the dates and locations of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments and how long she was hospitalized when you were born. They even want the names of everyone present at your birth.
I don't know about you, but I have absolutely no idea who was around when I entered the world (other than my mom, of course). I don't know anything about her pre- and post- natal appointments either. Do you?
I'd wonder if the bureaucrats who put the forms together would know themselves!
Lose Your Passport AND Your Citizenship
A very scary law proposed in 2011 would revoke both your U.S. passport AND citizenship if you are – and I quote – "engaging in, or purposefully or materially supporting, hostilities [against the United States]."
Unfortunately, they don't tell you what that means or who gets to decide whether you are guilty or not… While I can understand the idea of protecting against so-called terrorists, the potential for abuse is shocking to say the least.
With some creative twisting of the words (the kind to which only politicians seem to be naturally predisposed), couldn't this be used against anyone who disagrees with the government and the abuses they commit on a daily basis?
A Second Passport… Now More than Ever
Now is clearly a dangerous time to be a U.S. citizen. The net is tightening, and we simply don't know when that last bit of freedom we still enjoy will be taken away from us.
Can anyone say 2nd Passport?