Voluntariness of Renunciations of Citizenship Under 8 U.S.C. § 1481(a)(6)


A renunciation of citizenship would likely not be held involuntary by a court solely because it was undertaken as part of an agreement whereby federal prosecutors agreed not to proceed with denaturalization and deportation proceedings if the subjects of the investigation agreed to renounce their U.S. citizenship. In the analogous context of plea bargaining in criminal cases, courts have consistently held that the threat of greater punishment by prosecutors does not by itself deprive the defendant of the ability to voluntarily choose to plea bargain, absent other indicia of improper coercion. In the absence of facts indicating further government coercion, a court would likely look to principles applicable to the determination of voluntariness in criminal plea bargains and conclude that renunciation of citizenship pursuant to the agreements at issue did not violate the constitutional requirement of voluntariness per se.

Updated July 9, 2014