The Invisibility of the American Emigrant

An article by SEAT co-founder Laura Snyder was recently published by the DePaul Journal for Social Justice.

The article is entitled “The Invisibility of the American Emigrant.”

The article’s abstract appears below.

The article is available via this link.

Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” James Baldwin ⚡️#thepeoplehavethepower | James baldwin, Baldwin, Power


Epistemic injustice is the dismissal of people as credible sources of information, because of our presumptions about them, or because what they have to say clashes with how we would like to believe the world works. Epistemic injustice occurs when members of an in-group discredit information received from members of an out-group, despite any expertise the members of the out-group may have. The in-group fails to recognize the contributions to knowledge made by a member of the out-group, as well as the person’s status as a “knower.” In doing so, members of the in-group consistently fail to track certain truths and to investigate claims about the out-group. Further, in-group power figures emphasize stories of crime to make them seem more frequent and heinous. Members of the in-group take an assumption of evil or wrongdoing about a specific person and apply it inferentially to the entire out-group.

In the absence of epistemic justice, one group can be dominated by another. This is why epistemic justice is an essential condition for an equitable and inclusive society, and for the “political ideal of freedom.”

Over the course of decades, American nationals living outside the United States (the out-group) have sought to communicate their knowledge of and experiences with the U.S. nationality-based tax system. They have produced a large body of knowledge which teaches that, because of the U.S. nationality-based tax system, persons of American nationality living outside the United States suffer multiple violations of constitutional and human rights.

Unfortunately, academics, industry leaders, and governmental representatives (the in-group) for the most part either belittle this knowledge or, more commonly, do not recognize its existence, let alone contend with its contents or investigate its claims. This is observed in law school course materials, in academic literature, in conferences and think tanks, in the U.S. Congress, and in the IRS.

Until the contributions to knowledge and the experiences of American nationals living outside the United States are more widely recognized , their truths are tracked, and their claims are investigated without pre-conceived judgements and in good faith, there can be no justice, nor any “political ideal of freedom.” Today, because of the U.S. nationality-based tax system, no American is truly free to live outside the United States.

Download the article here.

Listen to a podcast about the article here:

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