Renouncing Citizenship article, Arizona Attorney Magazine, Dec. 2012

Renouncing Citizenship article, Arizona Attorney Magazine, Dec. 2012

A news story—about renouncing U.S. citizenship—caught my eye recently. And no, it’s not because I’m thinking of moving my loved ones and every asset to some island nation.

The reason this story intrigued me is that we covered the same topic recently in Arizona Attorney Magazine. But our take was a bit different.

The Yahoo story made quite a bit about the tax savings that could be achieved by renouncing your citizenship and expatriating. It mentioned—with scant evidence—that renunciations are on the increase due to higher taxes. A close look at the article shows that the answer is: Maybe. Maybe not.

Our article in the December issue didn’t seek to suggest anyone should beat a hasty retreat. But it did describe the process required, as well as a few reasons clients have given for their significant decision.

You can read “Adiós, Uncle Sam: Renouncing U.S. Citizenship” (by attorneys Susan Willis McFadden and Kay Kavanagh) here.

And now, because it’s Change of Venue Friday, you really should enjoy a brief video from a hilarious Tulsa newscast that touches on the expatriate subject. Following the 2012 presidential election (as in every election), quite a few people loudly declaimed that they would move to Canada if their candidate lost.

Taking them at their word, this Oklahoma traffic reporter added a unique twist to what is typically very local coverage.

Enjoy your weekend; I hope you beat the traffic.

ASU Canby Lecture Stacy_Leeds

Stacy Leeds

Here is a news item from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, regarding this Thursday’s William C. Canby, Jr., Lecture.

The article is by the school’s Grant Francis.

Stacy L. Leeds, Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law, will deliver the Sixth Annual William C. Canby Jr. Lecture on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. The title of Leeds’ talk is “Whose Sovereignty? Tribal Citizenship, Federal Indian Law, and Globalization.”

The lecture, presented by the Indian Legal Program (ILP) at the College of Law at Arizona State University, is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus. It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception in the Steptoe & Johnson Rotunda. Tickets are available here.

The lecture honors Judge William C. Canby Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a founding faculty member of the College of Law. Judge Canby taught the first classes in Indian law there and was instrumental in creating the ILP.

Leeds, the first American Indian woman to serve as dean of a law school, has worked with tribes for more than two decades, interpreting tribal law and serving as a judge for many tribes, including the Cherokee Nation.

“I will discuss how foundational principles of tribal sovereignty developed domestically and how those principles may evolve in the future, including issues of internal and external government accountability, interaction with other nations, and enforcement of tribal rights,” Leeds said.

She said it is important to understand the context in which Native American tribes have defined citizenship in the past in order to predict how it will be defined in the future.

“We are witnessing a global awakening currently with respect to indigenous sovereignty,” Leeds said.

The question is whether tribal sovereignty will be affected by globalization, she said. If this is the case, it could mean a much more complex relationship between the federal government and tribal governments in the future.

ASU Law School logoFor years, the U.S. government has refused to recognize tribal sovereign powers while simultaneously endorsing and supporting similar powers in newly created sovereigns around the globe, Leeds said. However, she noted, we are starting to see positive change as international law plays a greater role within the U.S.

“Enhanced global recognition of tribal government stature is finally being realized to some extent,” Leeds said. “But it will necessarily open tribes up to more internal and external scrutiny, and communities have to be ready for that.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dean Leeds to the College of Law to deliver our Canby Lecture,” said Dean Douglas Sylvester. “Her expertise in tribal sovereignty, as well as her accomplishments in the Native American community and in legal academia, make her an ideal fit for this important program.”

As part of the larger discussion, Leeds said she will touch briefly on the Cherokee Freedman Controversy, a political and tribal dispute between the Cherokee Nation and descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen regarding tribal citizenship. As a judge for the Cherokee Nation, she in 2006 wrote the majority opinion in Allen v. Cherokee Nation Tribal Council that ruled the Freedmen, a group of African-American descendents of former slaves of the Cherokee, were entitled to full citizenship in the tribe.

“Stacy has long been a leader in education and tribal government,” said Robert Clinton, Foundation Professor of Law at the College of Law. “At a time when the Cherokee Freedman controversy was heating up at the Cherokee Nation, her courageous opinion for the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court was widely heralded, although controversial.”

Clinton added that Leeds has been a pioneer as a Native American scholar and author, and her contributions to the field of Indian law are widely respected.

“I am very honored to be a part of this lecture series and to contribute to the world-class work of the Indian Legal Program at ASU,” Leeds said. “The program has a fantastic reputation and a vibrant Indian law curriculum.”

Before arriving at the University of Arkansas, Leeds was Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Kansas School of Law and director of the Northern Plains Indian Law Center at the University of North Dakota School of Law. She has taught law at the University of Kansas, the University of North Dakota and the University of Wisconsin School of Law.

Leeds was the first woman and youngest person to serve as a Justice on the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court. She teaches, writes and consults in the areas of American Indian law, property, energy and natural resources, economic development, judicial administration and higher education.

The State Bar of Arizona is partnering with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help launch a statewide initiative against the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law.

The Bar has noted that notario fraud is becoming a growing concern in Arizona. In that effort, there will be a press briefing on Tuesday, July 17, at 9:30 a.m.

Here is the Bar’s press release:

Media Advisory               July 12, 2012

USCIS & Partners Launch Arizona Initiative to Fight Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law

Victim of Immigration Scam Shares His Story

PHOENIX, Arizona – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomes the press to a briefing about combating scams that target immigrants. USCIS and its partners will officially launch the initiative to fight the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law (UPIL) within the state of Arizona.

USCIS, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the State Bar of Arizona will present the keys to this initiative—enforcement, education and collaboration—and a victim of an immigration scam will share his own experiences.

UPIL endangers the integrity of our immigration system and victimizes members of the immigrant community. This national initiative was launched in 2011 to raise awareness about and fight UPIL. USCIS District and Field Offices have developed and solidified local, state and federal partnerships to launch the UPIL initiative throughout the country.

The other federal, state and local partners who will be on hand for the briefing include the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office;  the Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Information and Complaints; Arizona State Supreme Court; City Attorney, Phoenix; Mesa Police Department; Phoenix Police Department.

WHAT: Press Briefing – Launch of Initiative to Fight Immigration Scams in Arizona 
WHEN: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 9:30 a.m.  
WHERE: USCIS Phoenix Office, 1330 S. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034 
CONTACTS: Marie Sebrechts, USCIS,, 949-500-1544Rick DeBruhl, State Bar of Arizona,, 602-340-7335 
NOTE: The victim of an immigration scam and officials from federal, state and local partners in the UPIL effort will be available for one-on-one interviews after the briefing.Members of the press are asked to arrive in time to go through security.

This wonderful news story came our way this month from the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Congratulations to Professor Gary Marchant, who has been kind enough to write for Arizona Attorney Magazine in the past.

Citizen Marchant Takes Oath of Allegiance

By Janie Magruder

Professor Gary Marchant of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is sworn in as a naturalized citizen by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service branch chief Charles Harrell on Monday, Jan. 31. Photo by Tom Story, Arizona State University

Gary Marchant is an internationally renowned expert in biotechnology who has written hundreds of publications about the legal and ethical issues of emerging technologies. He’s a former partner at one of the most respected global law firms in Washington, D.C., and not only has a Ph.D. in genetics and a master’s degree in public policy, but also was first in his class at Harvard Law.

On Monday, Jan. 31, the 52-year-old professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University added another notch to his belt, that of American citizen. A 15-minute naturalization ceremony in an Armstrong Hall classroom, sandwiched between Marchant’s nanotechnology course and a constitutional law class, was attended by his wife Dawn, their children, Julie and Daniel, and about 75 law-school friends.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the U.S. political system, and the way that issues are heard and voted on here,” said Marchant, who grew up outside Vancouver, British Columbia. “As a teenager, the first time I had a job and got paid, I used the money to buy The New York Times, because I was so interested in how the government operates across the border. I wanted to come here and study, and I’m thrilled to become a United States citizen.”

While naturalization ceremonies are performed periodically for large groups of new citizens, such events for individuals are rare. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service approached Marchant late last year about delivering his oath at the law school. 

“The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service works to take our immigration activities out to the community and to those who wouldn’t normally see the immigration process firsthand,” said Marie Thérèse Sebrects of the USCIS. “The naturalization ceremony of Professor Marchant presented a perfect occasion to provide members of the ASU community, in general, and the law school, in particular, an opportunity to see this important final step to U.S. citizenship.”

Professor Gary Marchant wrote our cover story on personalized medicine in 2007

One of the earlier steps was a 10-question oral civics exam, which Marchant took in November. A passing grade is six out of 10 – Marchant missed just one question. (Asked to name a war that was fought in the 1900s, Marchant misinterpreted the question as 19th century and replied, “the Civil War.”)

At Monday’s ceremony, USCIS branch chief Charles Harrell administered the oath of office after affirming that the popular professor had “good moral character as required by law.” The room erupted in laughter and applause.

Said Harrell, “We liken it to a new birthday. Next year, you can ask for your birthday off. Whether they give it to you is not up to us.”

He encouraged Marchant to vote, become active in his community, even run for office. When Harrell emphasized that Marchant is not expected to leave behind his Canadian heritage or background, Marchant quipped, “So I can still watch hockey then?”

Amy Owen took her 11-year-old son, Duane Miller, out of school and brought him to the law school to witness the ceremony. “This is another way for my son to appreciate being a citizen of such a great country,” said Owen, a third-year law student. “This is not something we should take for granted. It’s definitely special.”

Duane, a fifth grader at Summit School of Ahwatukee, brought along a book in case things got long, but he didn’t have a chance to open it.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Duane, who watched President Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law in the class behind Marchant, deliver a videotaped message of congratulations. “I thought it would be a lot more formal and take a lot longer for someone to actually join a big community like the United States.”

Marchant, who played hockey as a child, said there is room in his heart, although perhaps not in his schedule, for his new country’s national pastime, baseball. In addition to teaching law and traveling the world to talk about the intersection of law with science, he is Executive Director of the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, the ASU Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics, a Senior Sustainability Scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, and Associate Director of the ASU Origins Institute.

Marchant said he will not press his children to consider dual citizenship.

“I told my son that, because I’m Canadian, he can become Canadian, too, and he cried,” he laughed.

And although his native land is known for its fine comedians –Eugene Levy, Norm Macdonald and Catherine O’Hara, among them – Marchant said his loyalties there won’t change. “I’m a John Cleese fan,” he noted.

A controversial ad on the 14th Amendment that ran in Newsweek

Here at Arizona Attorney Magazine, we are accustomed to reading well-cited material. In fact, you could argue that some of our articles are, shall we say, excessive in the endnotes department. (Authors: You know who you are.)

So used to it am I that I am occasionally stunned by the lack of documentation in news articles. How often do we get to the end of a newspaper story with more questions than when we started? And it’s even more annoying when the supporting information could have been obtained without much work on the reporter’s part.

That’s why Laurie Roberts’ column in today’s Arizona Republic is refreshing.

As some Arizona legislators head to Washington to protest the 14th Amendment, Roberts takes the opportunity to give her opinion (which is her job) and to shed some light (which is part of her job but too often ignored by reporters).

How does she do that? By going back to some original material. In so doing, she goes further than just adding her two cents to the debate over whether children born in this country to undocumented parents should be American citizens (she says they should be). But she adds some actual language spoken by a senator in 1866 on the topic.

Anchor Baby by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Amazing how little it takes to impress me, eh?

But so trifling has news coverage become that my heart races when I am given some actual evidence, or data, which my mind can then assess for itself.

She concludes her column with an insight into the so-called anchor baby debate—a vision of an America with two classes of citizens.

“Consider, for a moment, that the … proposal would give us a permanent underclass of people who can never become citizens. Generation after generation of people who have no allegiance to this country and no stake in what happens here. People who are told to go back to where they came from, even when where they came from is … here.”

Among the opinionated and loud debates over the topic, I must say that her question is intriguing. (The comments that follow her column online do not whole-heartedly agree with my “intriguing” compliment.) As we move into 2011 with a debate about a 19th-century amendment, let’s hope for more evidence to bring to bear.

Read her complete column here.