American Citizens Abroad Lauds U.S Embassies and Consulates for Outreach to U.S. Citizens Overseas during Overseas Americans Week in Washington D.C.

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American Citizens Abroad is pleased to announce today that several U.S embassies and consulates publicized the recent Overseas Americans Week which was held in Washington D.C. in April 2010, marking a more dynamic outreach to Americans residing abroad.

“We feel that Americans residing abroad are precious unofficial representatives of the United States, and an important resource for the country,” said Jackie Bugnion, member of the ACA Executive Committee.

American Citizens Abroad (ACA), a Geneva-based expatriate advocacy group with worldwide membership, is pleased to announce that several U.S. embassies and consulates supported the idea of Overseas Americans Week (OAW), by encouraging U.S. citizens residing abroad to share their experiences and concerns about life outside of the United States.

The Overseas Americans Week, held April 19 – 23, 2010 in Washington D.C., is an annual lobbying effort by U.S. expatriate groups to maintain an ongoing dialogue with legislators and agencies who directly affect the lives of U.S. citizens around the world.

Three different organizations of Americans abroad met members of Congress and the U.S. Administration to discuss issues of concern, including taxation, banking and voting. The three organizations are ACA, AARO (Association of Americans Resident Overseas), and FAWCO (Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas).

U.S. Embassies in Japan and Burma, and the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, India, all published information about the week in their official publications, and asked for comments from American citizens living in the country concerned.

The U.S. Consulate in Chennai organized a live web chat during that same week for American citizens living in India, to discuss voting issues and the renewal of passports.

“The OAW participants were delighted to discover the recent outreach of several consulates and embassies to overseas Americans through their websites,” says ACA director Jackie Bugnion, who headed the ACA delegation to OAW.

Bugnion says that it would be a “significant positive step forward” if U.S. consulates and embassies organized “Town Hall Meetings” at least once a year, inviting Americans in their regions to exchange information with government representatives visiting their countries. “The State Department must be informed of issues facing Americans abroad and should be interested in the observations and opinions of the American community on local developments,” she notes.

Currently, there are approximately 3 to 6 million American citizens residing abroad who are subject to U.S. taxation, but have no representation in Washington. ACA and other expatriate organizations say the interests and concerns of this sizeable population are mostly neglected and ignored by the U.S. government and legislators, but they hope the recent outreach by the embassies and consulates heralds a more open, results-bearing dialogue.

“We feel that Americans residing abroad are precious unofficial representatives and an important resource for the United States,” Bugnion says. “The more productive communication and relationship we have with our government, the more the United States will benefit from it.”

American Citizens Abroad (ACA) is a citizens’ advocacy group. It was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, and focuses on issues such as taxation, citizenship, banking services, Social Security and Medicare. More information can be found on the organization’s website at http://www.americansabroad.org

American Citizens Abroad, the Voice of Americans Overseas

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Anne Hornung-Soukup
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