One of the most inaccessible data sets I’ve ever tried to get access to is basic U.S. loss-of-citizenship data held by the State Department. (It’s connected to a cluster of issues around U.S. taxation abroad which are fairly certain to get an airing early this year, as Canada’s federal government makes a decision about FATCA.)
For strange reasons, one of the better data sources out there on loss of U.S. citizenship is an FBI gun control database – people who renounce U.S. citizenship are barred from buying firearms (and explosives, and transporting dangerous goods across state lines), along with fugitives, convicts, drug addicts, people dishonorably discharged from the military and people subject to domestic violence-related restraining orders.
I wonder about the priorities of the congressman who put that at the top of his to-do list, but as an unintended consequence we have a window into an otherwise very secretive area of consular activity.
Over 3,100 Americans renounced citizenship last year, FBI statistics show. (Many others use a different process). http://t.co/9ywfB4qYVt
— Patrick Cain (@pcaintoronto) January 10, 2014