Americans Helping Americans Abroad

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  • 1 "Act II" of the MOVE Act
  • 2 The Trump Executive Order: its effects on immigration
  • 3 U.S. Passport Renewal: Dilly-dallying Unwise!
  • 4 AARO Members Talk FATCA with the AAPA
  • 5 The overseas voter: Can (s)he make a difference?
  • 6 Here for the Long Haul - Investment Options for Americans Overseas
  • 7 VIDEO: AARO Presidential Debate (AARO members only)
  • 8 AARO Presidential Debate Report
  • 9 Goals at Overseas Americans Week in 2016
  • "Act II" of the MOVE Act

    The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act was signed into law in October 2009.  It was landmark election reform legislation for which AARO and its partner organizations advocated actively, and represented great progress for overseas voters, among others.  MOVE
    Read More
  • The Trump Executive Order: its effects on immigration

    What we know now: The Executive Order signed on Friday, 27 January, 2017, is designed to at least temporarily (90 days) close US borders to those carrying passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, due to terrorist concerns.
    Read More
  • U.S. Passport Renewal: Dilly-dallying Unwise!

    Apply for your passport well ahead of planned travel! The State Department informs us that there has been increasingly strong demand for U.S. passports in recent years. This is true everywhere, but in addition, nearly 10 years after implementation of
    Read More
  • AARO Members Talk FATCA with the AAPA

    In May, AARO members John Fredenberger, Delphine Brett-Ziller, and Lucy Laederich attended a meeting of the Anglo-American Press Association in Paris to discuss the implications of FATCA legislation on the 8.7 million Americans overseas. The attendees, many of whom are
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  • The overseas voter: Can (s)he make a difference?

    The closer we get to what is projected to be a close election, the more people are turning their eyes to that other potential voting block: overseas Americans.  Generally, polls are announced as having been conducted in “x” states or
    Read More
  • Here for the Long Haul - Investment Options for Americans Overseas

    On May 18, London & Capital presented an information meeting on investment options we Americans have when we live abroad. Daniel Freedman, head of the US Family Office at London & Capital, moderated the event. Tony McGloughlin, director at London
    Read More
  • VIDEO: AARO Presidential Debate (AARO members only)

    On October 19, AARO hosted a debate with an insider perspective on the 2016 presidential election and where the parties would like to have us go in the next four years. Featuring Joe Smallhoover* (Democrat), Ned Wiley** (Libertarian) and George
    Read More
  • AARO Presidential Debate Report

    *Please note that this is a summary of the debate, and the panelists’ responses may be edited or slightly summarized for clarity. For a video recording of the event, please click here. The room at Reid Hall was packed on
    Read More
  • Goals at Overseas Americans Week in 2016

    Over the years, U.S. legislation has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to live and work overseas. Our organizations urge Congress and the Administration to review and rethink certain policies that restrict the effectiveness of the estimated 8.7 million overseas
    Read More

The Buzz

See the latest trending topics from AARO’s Twitter feed and the “unofficial” AARO Facebook discussion forum: what Americans overseas are talking about today.

Perspectives from Abroad

AARO members worldwide share stories and perspectives from their host countries: economic analysis, human interest, challenges and solutions.

Americans Abroad Caucus

The Caucus groups legislators who understand and care about their overseas constituents. AARO is proud to work with these Members of Congress.

  • AARO Member Benefits

    In addition to its core activity of advocacy on behalf of the almost 9 million Americans living and working abroad, AARO offers benefits to members that can make their life abroad easier and more interesting!
    Read More
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AARO Profiles

Meet AARO volunteers, issue experts and members in distant countries: people you might not otherwise meet but who are central to AARO's mission!

Protecting Consular Assistance: Congressional Action Needed to Ensure the Safety of Americans Abroad

Why is congressional action needed?

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), a treaty fully ratified by the United States and thus part of U.S. law, ensures the right of detained foreign nationals to have prompt access to consular assistance and permits consulates to assist their citizens abroad. The United States is currently in breach of its international treaty commitments by failing to provide access to potential judicial remedies for certain domestic violations of its VCCR obligations in serous cases.

The International Court of Justice ”“ which the United States designated as the court with jurisdiction to resolve international disputes regarding the Vienna Convention ”“ determined in the Avena case that the United States can remedy these violations by granting judicial hearings to determine whether prejudice resulted from the failure to provide consular access. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded in Medellín v. Texas that complying with the ICJ judgment is an international legal obligation of the United States, and that the reasons for doing so are “plainly compelling.” The Court further determined that legislation enacted by Congress is necessary to implement this obligation. Three years later, despite support from the State Department and the Department of Justice, implementing legislation has not yet been enacted.

Why is this issue important to Americans abroad?

The security of Americans abroad is clearly and directly at risk when the U.S. fails to abide by its international obligations under the VCCR and related consular treaties. Prompt and consistent compliance with consular notification and access provisions is critical to the safety of Americans who travel, live and work in other countries around the world. Whenever our fellow-citizens are arrested in a foreign country, U.S. consulates provide a list of attorneys and information on the host country's legal system, offer to contact family or friends, visit on a regular basis, protest mistreatment, monitor jail conditions, and keep the Department of State informed. The United States rightly insists that other countries grant Americans the right to prompt consular notification and access, as required under the VCCR. However, effective insistence on compliance abroad must first begin with remedial action at home.

What should congress do?

Congress must act without delay to fulfill the United States”’ consular treaty obligations and thus ensure the safety of Americans abroad. Prompt Congressional action will preserve the reputation of the United States as a reliable international partner that respects the rule of law.

AARO, ACA, FAWCO and MENA believe that Congress can fulfill our international obligations by promptly adopting legislation ensuring access to the required judicial review and reconsideration of VCCR violations in the most serious cases. Any burden on the federal courts would be minimal, and would be greatly outweighed by the benefits of protecting the reciprocal rights of American citizens abroad. Each day that Congress fails to act increases the risk that other nations will begin to shirk their own VCCR responsibilities, potentially endangering the safety and security of every American citizen who ventures beyond our nation”’s borders.

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