He may not have built his “beautiful wall”, but Donald Trump is doing an A+ job of keeping people, including his own citizens, out of the US. Record numbers of people are giving up their US citizenship, according to analysis by a New York accountancy firm. More than 5,800 Americans renounced their citizenship in the first six months of 2020, Bambridge Accountants reports, a 1,210% increase on the six months to December 2019.
The US’s global tax reporting requirements are a major reason why many people decide to cough up the $2,350 (£1,775) fee required to officially cut ties with the US. Boris Johnson, for example, renounced his US citizenship in 2016 after complaining about the “absolutely outrageous” US tax demands. Nevertheless, it seems that Trump is sending an increasing number of expats over the edge.
“What we’ve seen is people are over everything happening with President Donald Trump, how the coronavirus pandemic is being handled and the political policies in the US at the moment,” a partner at the firm explained to CNN. “If President Trump is re-elected, we believe there will be another wave of people who will decide to renounce their citizenship.”
I can’t imagine Trump is too concerned about Americans socially distancing themselves from their passports; the man seems hellbent on making citizenship as unattractive as possible. The Trump administration is reportedly considering blocking US citizens and permanent residents from re-entering the US if an official “reasonably” believes they could have Covid-19. Once upon a time, an American passport let you cross borders with ease – now it makes you persona non grata around the world. Not only are most Americans banned from Europe, but they may also no longer even be guaranteed entrance to their own home.
© Originally published in The Guardian by Arwa Mahdawi, Wed 12 Aug 2020