The US government has dismissed the Association of Accidental Americans (AAA) in their bid to scrap the fees required to give up US citizenship.
The AAA submitted the legal challenge in December 2020 claiming that the renunciation of US citizenship was protected by the country’s fifth amendment’s substantive due process clause and that the fee required to give up citizenship fails strict scrutiny.
At the moment, anyone looking to waive their US citizenship is required to pay $2,350 (£1,700, €1,945), a sum that the AAA claims is prohibitive.
But acting assistant attorney general Brian Boynton disagrees.
He said: “This argument is meritless, principally because expatriation is not a fundamental right under the firth amendment’s substantive due process clause.
“To sufficiently allege a substantive due process claim under the fifth amendment, plaintiffs ‘must allege that the defendant [in this case the US department of state] deprived them of a constitutionally cognisable liberty or property interest’.
“Plaintiffs have failed to adequately allege that the right to expatriate, including by taking an oath of renunciation, is a constitutionally cognisable fundamental right.”
Marc Zell, the attorney representing the AAA, said: “Unsurprisingly, although disappointedly, the government has taken the position that the right of a US citizen to expatriate is not protected by the constitution.
“We intend to file our opposition to the government’s position and fight for the rights of accidental Americans around the world that wish to shed their US citizenship but cannot do so because of the $2,350 fee.”
The case is yet to be tried in the US court.
Editor’s note: This article has been amended to reflect additional information received by International Adviser regarding the legal challenge between the Association of Accidental Americans and the US Department of State.