Feds Revoke Citizenship at Border, Then Deny U.S. Nationality

Feds Revoke Citizenship at Border, Then Deny U.S. Nationality

By Mark Nestmann • June 5, 2012

Can the U.S. government force you to sign a document that strips you of your nationality? Longstanding legal precedent says U.S. citizens end U.S. citizenship only "with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality." However, several cases have emerged where the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (C&BP) agency has coerced native-born U.S. citizens into signing away their birthright.

Take Brenda Vazquez, born in the United States in 1982 and thus a U.S. citizen from birth. On Feb. 19, 2012, Vasquez returned to the United States from a visit to Mexico, crossing the U.S. border at the Brownsville international bridge. Vasquez was singled out for secondary screening and interrogated by C&BP officials. After seven hours of questioning, she signed a statement that she had been born in Mexico, not the United States, and thus was not a U.S. citizen.

Vasquez, now stranded in Mexico for nearly four months, claims she only signed the statement after C&BP officials seized her Texas driver’s license and U.S. birth certificate she had presented as proof of U.S. citizenship. They also told her she couldn't contact an attorney until "she admitted she was not American."

What happened next is even more outrageous. After sending her back to Mexico, C&BP informed the Texas Department of Health and Human Services that Vasquez had been born in Mexico, not the United States, providing a copy of her signed denial of U.S. citizenship as "proof." When Vasquez' attorney asked for a copy of her Texas birth certificate, it was refused due to the existence of this document.

Vasquez isn't the only victim of the C&BP's campaign to strip native-born U.S. citizens of their nationality. Another lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union sets out numerous examples of coerced denial of U.S. citizenship and re-entry privileges strikingly similar to Vazquez' allegations.

Vasquez might have spared herself this entire ordeal if she had obtained a U.S. passport before departing the United States. Since 2009, U.S. citizens have been required to present a U.S. passport, a "trusted traveler card," a U.S. passport card, or an "enhanced" driver's license containing a radio frequency identity device (RFID) when re-entering the United States from Mexico. Texas isn't one of the driver's licenses yet certified with the obligatory chip.

If you value your right to travel internationally, outrages like that suffered by Brenda Vasquez make it more important than ever to obtain a second citizenship and passport. Your passport is the property of your government. Governments routinely revoke or decline to renew passports, and the number of justifications for doing so continues to grow.

Here are a few other examples:

  • Do you owe money to the IRS? If you do, a proposal now before Congress would revoke your U.S. passport.
  • Can you provide intimate details of the circumstances of your birth, including (for men), circumcision records? If not, you may find it impossible to obtain or renew your passport.
  • Are you “engaging in, or purposefully or materially supporting, hostilities" against the United States?" If you are, a proposed law would revoke both your U.S. citizenship and passport. The proposal would make it much easier for the government to strip dissidents of their citizenship, because it eliminates the requirement that U.S. citizens can lose their U.S. citizenship only if they demonstrate their intent to do so.

Even if you're not a U.S. citizen, if you have only one nationality and passport, you're taking a risk at the hands of politicians who believe that you're the property of the state, from cradle to grave. For instance, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for revoking both the passport and citizenship of any French citizen who leaves France to live in a country where taxes are lower. The only way to keep your French nationality under Sarkozy's proposal would be to pay any tax savings in your new residence country to the French government.

If you don’t qualify for a second passport by virtue of marriage or ancestry, it’s still possible to acquire one by making a contribution or investment to a handful of countries. In exchange, you’ll receive citizenship for life and a passport.

The Commonwealth of Dominica and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis are the only countries with an official, legally mandated, citizenship-through-investment program. Several other countries, including at least two EU members, will award citizenship and passport upon performance of an outstanding service (including an investment).

The Nestmann Group, Ltd. can assist you in lodging your application for citizenship and passport in these countries. Please contact us for more information.

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Nestmann

Protecting your assets (and yourself) against any threat - from the government, the IRS or a frivolous lawsuit - is something The Nestmann Group has helped more than 15,000 Americans do over the last 30 years.

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About The Author

Since 1990, Mark Nestmann has helped thousands of clients seeking wealth preservation and international tax planning solutions. He is the author of highly acclaimed Lifeboat Strategy and other books & reports dealing with these subjects.

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