One of the strongest enforcement mechanisms any government has over its citizens is to restrict their ability to travel internationally. Since international travel to almost anywhere requires a passport, requiring citizens to adhere to specified rules to obtain this travel document is a highly effective mechanism of social control. Many governments therefore temporarily or permanently suspend a citizen’s passport under a variety of conditions, or refuse to issue or renew it at all. For instance, under U.S. law, several circumstances exist under which authorities can confiscate your passport, or the State Department can refuse to issue or renew it.

Congress to U.S. Citizens: Pay Your Income Tax or Forfeit Your Passport, 4/17/12

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