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    Ottawa urged to remove citizenship by birth on Canadian soil

    Ottawa urged to remove citizenship by birth on Canadian soil

    Officials recommend Ottawa removing citizenship rights to babies born to non-citizens and non-residents even though costs outweigh benefits.

    New citizens are sworn in at a ceremony in Toronto earlier this year.

    New citizens are sworn in at a ceremony in Toronto earlier this year.
    By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Mon Aug 18 2014

    Immigration officials have recommended that Ottawa remove citizenship rights to babies born in Canada to non-citizens and non-residents even though the small number of cases doesn’t justify the costs.

    The proposal, marked “secret” and with inputs from various federal departments, found fewer than 500 cases of children being born to foreign nationals in Canada each year, amounting to just 0.14 per cent of the 360,000 total births per year in the country.

    The issue of citizenship by birth on Canadian soil once again raises concerns among critics over the current government’s policy considerations being based on ideologies rather than evidence and objective cost-benefit analyses.

    “An impartial observer would conclude that the evidence supports no need for change, given the small number of cases. Yet the recommendation supports the government’s public rhetoric and anecdotes on the need for change,” said Andrew Griffith, a former director general for citizenship and multiculturalism at Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and author of Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias.

    The Conservative government overhauled the Canadian Citizenship Act earlier this year by further restricting eligibility. However, the “birth on soil” provision was left intact and required further studies.

    “Eliminating birth on soil in order to ensure that everyone who obtains citizenship at birth has a strong connection to Canada would have significant cost implications,” said the 17-page report prepared for former immigration minister Jason Kenney, obtained under an access to information request.

    “The challenge of communicating this change would be convincing the public that restricting the acquisition of Canadian citizenship is worth that cost, particularly in a climate of deficit reduction.”

    The office of Chris Alexander, Kenney’s successor, confirmed with the Star that the government is still reviewing citizenship policy with regard to the issue of “birth tourism” — a term referring to foreigners travelling to give birth in Canada so the baby can claim automatic citizenship here.

    Dubbed “anchor babies,” these children are eligible to sponsor their foreign parents to Canada once they turn 18. It is unknown how many of them actually return to their birth country with their parents, but it’s believed the number is low.

    “As provinces and territories are responsible for birth registration, consultation and co-ordination with the provinces is required,” said Alexis Pavlich, a spokesperson for Alexander.

    “Canadian citizenship is an honour and a privilege, and our Conservative government is committed to increasing its value. Birth tourism undermines the integrity of our citizenship program and takes advantage of Canadian generosity.”

    Currently Canada and the United States are the only countries to have birth on soil provisions. The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries restrict citizenship by birth on soil to children born to parents who are either citizens or permanent residents.

    “The potential costs . . . of enforcing this provision, the potential challenges with children being born stateless in Canada and the uncertainty of their status may outweigh the benefits linked to limiting citizenship by birth on soil,” said the government report, which also suggested that the number of anchor babies could be underestimated.

    “Discussions with CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) have indicated that limiting citizenship by birth on soil would likely impact the removals program. It could be more challenging to remove families which have a child born in Canada in terms of getting access to travel documents for that child, regardless of whether or not the child is stateless.”

    With input from the Department of Justice, Passport Canada, Foreign Affairs, CBSA and Public Safety, the report suggested Ottawa could issue proof of citizenship to persons born in Canada or have provinces modify birth certificates to indicate citizenship status.

    Nevertheless, it recommended the removal of the birth rights by suggesting “there may be some support for a restrictive policy” despite the “significant operational and cost implication” for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

    In the 1990s, the then Liberal government also toyed with the idea of removing citizenship as a birth right but was met with public opposition, and a letter campaign to then immigration minister Lucienne Robillard opposing the plan was launched.

    “Canada has signed international conventions that commit us not to make people stateless. There is a very real risk that some children will be stateless as a result of this proposed change,” said the letter signed on by more than 230 national organizations.

    “A move to end automatic citizenship for babies sends xenophobic messages to the public,” the letter said. “Such a legislative change would send a message to newcomers about whose children count and whose children are not welcome. It would reinforce feelings of exclusion and marginalization making integration even more difficult.”

    Reached regarding Ottawa’s renewed attempt to change the law, Janet Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees said, “Citizenship by birth in Canada is an important part of the Canadian identity and makes us a better society. When the previous government suggested changing that principle in the 1990s, we found that many Canadians agreed with us that it was a bad idea. It is still a bad idea.”

    See also on

    Canada’s “anchor babies”: Journey “home” is tough for children deported with their parents

    Residents urged to apply for Canadian citizenship to avoid hurdles on horizon

  2. #2
    The Canadians are wising up to the stupidity of this after seeing our country and culture on the way to extinction

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