My eyes have seen the years – Roger Conklin: “United States has replaced Cuba as the nation with Exit Tax”

With the passing of Roger Conklin, the world has lost a decent man. He was also a relentless advocate for ALL Americans and for the United States as a whole. He influenced many posts on this blog. For many years, Roger was involved with “American CItizens Abroad“. Roger posted numerous comments on online articles. He generously educated others with his numerous emails. He was a true American Patriot who was a keen observer of the “aging of America”. What follows is an email that he composed during the last few years of his life. This email is a “wake up call” and a true gift to those who care about the future of America.

Stephen, Victoria and All,

I recall a few years back when Fidel Castro introduced an Exit Tax on Cubans that were university graduates who applied for permits to leave the country to relocate elsewhere. This tax was to compensate the Cuban government for the cost of their government-paid-for university education.

The world screamed bloody murder! The US, in front of the US Interests Section building in Havana erected a huge electrically illuminated sign quoting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (Cuba is one of the UN member states that ratified that Declaration), which affirms that every person shall have the right to freely leave from and return to any nation, including his own.

Cuba erected another sign on the outside of the fence for the purpose of blocking the view of the sign the US Interest Section had erected, but the world reaction against Cuba was so strong that Cuba relented and eliminate that Exit Tax.

Today, Cubans no longer require an exit permit to leave the country. With a Cuban passport and a visa from the country to which they intend to travel every Cuban is now free to leave the country either for a temporary visit abroad; or permanently.

The United States has replaced Cuba as the nation with an Exit Tax collectible from its citizens if they renounce their US citizenship. And under the provisions of a bill introduced by Senators Schumer (D, NY) and Reed (D, RI) the US citizen who renounces US citizenship in order to avoid paying the unique US citizenship-based income tax levied on US citizens living in a foreign country, would be blacklisted and denied any right to ever visit the United States for the rest of his life, even to visit a dying relative in a nursing home, to attend a funeral, for medical treatment or for any other purpose. This bill has not yet been enacted into law, but don’t be surprised if it is tacked, as was FATCA, onto some totally unrelated legislation just minutes before the vote is taken and is passed without those who vote “aye” realizing what they have approved with that vote.

Did you ever expect to see the day when it was easier for a Cuban Citizen to leave that Communist country and become a citizen of another country than it is for a US citizen to do the same. Cubans who become naturalized citizens of another country by that action automatically loose their Cuban citizenship. But Americans who do this must formally renounce their US citizenship before a US Consular official located outside of the United States; and pay the required renunciation fee and Exit Tax to do so.

Strange but true, the exit tax rules which Communist countries implemented to prevent or severely penalize their citizens who wished to leave, which were so strongly criticized under US law, are now standard US practice with the United States.

As far as I know neither Cuba nor any other nation has erected a sign in front of its Interests Section building in Washington or an Embassy, highlighting how this Exit Tax constitutes a violation by the United States of the UN Universal Human Rights Declaration, the author of which was none other than Eleanor Roosevelt, the widow of our 34th President.

It indeed matters whose ox is being gored.


2 thoughts on “My eyes have seen the years – Roger Conklin: “United States has replaced Cuba as the nation with Exit Tax”

  1. calgary411

    Thank you for another tribute to Roger Conklin. We who he taught well must continue the fight for justice for US expats (and for the health of the US itself) that Roger carried on for the latter years of his life. Rest in peace, Roger. We mourn your loss, all members of Roger’s family and his many friends and colleagues.

    Beautiful words of Patric Hale for our respected and loved friend, met on these pages: “Some you just know are in God’s presence, and that is where Roger is now.”

  2. John Gaver

    I only learned of Roger in recent years, as I began considering a permanent move abroad. But I always found his writing to be very informative and I, for one, will miss his insight.

    I would however, like to point out that while Roger was accurate in pointing out the “…and don’t come back” provisions in the Schumer/Reed bill, this is nothing new. In fact, existing law to that effect has already been enforced against several former U.S. citizens, though only on rare occasions and apparently not under instructions from the Attorney General (AG). Journalist and wealth preservations attorney, Mark Nestmann, has stated that he is personally aware of such applications of the original law (also authored by Reed). Other offshore attorneys have gone on record with similar remarks. On the other hand, several (though not all) such visa denials have been reversed by the State Department. The point is that this law is already on the books and has been selectively enforced.

    Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 USC 1182(a)(10)(E)), the AG already has that power. The part of that bill, giving the AG that power, was actually inserted by Rep. Reed. It’s just that no AG nor President (up to now) has chosen to aggressively enforce that provision, although I’m sure that time is coming. But my point is that Obama has already demonstrated, on many occasions, that if a president chooses not to enforce any particular part of U.S. law, Congress is powerless to stop him. Schumer and Reed are just throwing a hissy fit, because neither their buddy in the White House, nor the several from both parties that proceeded him, have been willing to enforce the “…and don’t come back” law (as it was called by the Wall Street Journal, in 1996).

    Reed has been trying for some time, to get the President (any president) to enforce his amendment. For example, back in 2012, Reed sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, urging her to enforce the Reed Amendment against Eduardo Saverin. It didn’t happen. A modification of this law by Congress won’t make any difference, as long as presidents are unwilling to enforce it. But what will make a difference is just one president (this one or a future president), deciding to direct the AG to enforce that already existing provision.

    I’m glad that Roger pointed this out. I just wanted to clarify that this bill is nothing more than an attempt by Reed and Schumer, to get the President to enforce “existing law”.

    RIP Roger Conklin.


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