Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Guest Post: What is a U. S. Person?

This is new one on me.  Last week I had to certify under penalty of perjury; that “I am a U.S. Person.”  We were signing some financial documents and on the page where you give your social security information there was the new phrase “U.S. Person.”

A United States Person is defined variously by different government agencies. The gist of it is that if you are a citizen, a legal resident alien or a corporation formed under US law you are a U.S. Person.  Some implications of being a U.S. Person are:
·      The NSA is not supposed to spy on a US Person without a court’s permission. 
·      The IRS has permission to tax US Persons. 
·      You don’t have to live in the USA to be a United States Person. 
·      You don’t have to be a person to be a United States Person. You can be a corporation or a group.
Since we had to invent United States Person to keep everyone in nice neat categories I suggest that our rules are too complicated.
U.S. Person appears to be a term invented to fill up the space between those who are not subject to US law, taxes and constitutional protections (Foreigners) on the one side and those who clearly are (US Citizens and resident aliens) on the other extreme.  US Person includes trusts, partnerships and corporations that are formed under US law.  It doesn’t seem to include foreign investors doing business in the US who don’t have permanent resident visas and it doesn’t include persons living in the US who don’t have green cards.
As a service I have below the fold included several US Government agencies definitions of U.S.Person and links.

According to NASA in their explanation of export controls: U.S. Person is a natural person who is a lawful permanent resident as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(20) or who is a protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). It also means any corporation, business association, partnership, society, trust, or any other entity, organization or group that is incorporated to do business in the U.S. It also includes any governmental (federal, state or local), entity.
According to the National Security Agency web site, Federal law and executive order define a United States person as any of the following:
    A citizen of the United States
    An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence
    An unincorporated association with a substantial number of members who are citizens of the U.S. or are aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence
    A corporation that is incorporated in the U.S.
I got this via Wikipedia since I wasn’t able to access the NSA web site from my computer. This concern me just a little.
This definition is from the IRS :
The term 'United States person' means:
    A citizen or resident of the United States,
    A partnership created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States or of any State,
    A corporation created or organized in the United States or under the law of the United States or of any State, or
    Any estate or trust other than a foreign estate or foreign trust.
Neither ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) nor DHS (Department of Homeland Security) had a definition of United States Person on their websites.

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This article first appeared on Rational Immigration on June 29, 2911.  It is cross-posted here with permission of the author. Please note that the views expressed by guest bloggers represent their own personal views, and not necessarily those of everyone associated with Loving the Stranger or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated.

Simon Burrow, from Pasadena, California, writes about immigration issues in Rational Immigration from a conservative Jewish faith perspective. He is an immigrant from England spent his childhood in upstate New York and his working career in California. A graduate of Cal State LA in Finance and an army veteran he has been happily married for thirty-five years and has two grown daughters.