Even current U.S. law imposes an exit tax, via imagined capital gains, on anybody who has been a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident for more than seven years. Capital gains are calculated under the presumption that all assets of the emigrant have been sold at the time of emigration. These gains are currently taxed at 15 percent. Schumer wants the rate raised to 30 percent. Further, he wants to ban such persons from ever re‐entering the U.S.
Whatever happened to the human rights that the U.S. swore by in the 1970s? The Soviet Union imposed a so‐called “diploma tax” on the ground that it should be able to recover the cost of higher education for the emigrants — its rate of exit tax ($ 5,000 to $ 25,000) rose with the level of education. Enraged by this, Senators “Scoop” Jackson and Charles Vanik pushed through legislation denying Most Favored Nation trade treatment to countries that restricted emigration through measures like an exit tax. Twenty‐one American Nobel laureates issued a public statement condemning the exit tax as a “massive violation of human rights.”
People have a fundamental right to migrate to improve their prospects. The UN Declaration of Human Rights says in Article 13, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own.” Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights incorporates this right into treaty law. It says “Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. The above‐mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those provided by law necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.” The permitted restrictions do not mention exit taxes.
The Jackson‐Vanik amendment applied to any country that: