A federal judge in Washington DC has ruled against the Association of Accidental Americans (AAA) in one of the two lawsuits it filed against the United States.
The one in question relates to the suspension and/or delay of citizenship renunciation services across US embassies and consulates during the pandemic.
The AAA said it has already appealed the decision.
Many ‘accidentals’ and American expats have resorted to renouncing their US citizenship due to the burden placed on them by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca), which requires them and their foreign financial institutions to transfer personal data to the US.
The federal court, however, concluded that the US government did not act “unreasonably” in suspending or delaying these services during the pandemic, and that the government has a duty to provide such services but procedural speed was beyond its remit.
Fabien Lehagre, founder and president of the AAA, said: “Our fight for the rights of accidental Americans continues to the appellate level. While disappointed in the ruling, we are happy that the court acknowledged the financial burdens caused by Fatca and related legislation on accidental Americans.
“We are also pleased that the court left open for decision by another court our main argument that voluntary expatriation is a fundamental constitutional right, the restrictions of which should be stricken unless they are necessary for a compelling governmental interest.
“We have appealed the decision and will raise our arguments before the court of appeals. It is our hope that the court of appeals will give the right to expatriate the importance it deserves. Our struggle for liberty has just begun.”
The association is also awaiting judgement on another lawsuit it filed in 2020 which challenges the US government’s $2,350 (£2,093, €2,405) fee required for voluntarily renounce American citizenship.