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“Jus Soli” / “Passport Babies”

One of the promises of Canada is that a child born here automatically becomes a Canadian citizen. Women in their third trimester, deliver their child on Canadian Soil, the mother is rewarded with citizenship for her offspring, entitled to all of Canada’s generous benefits, and eventually when the child reaches adulthood he/she can sponsor the parent’s for permanent residency.

Canada and the United States of America are the only countries that grant “Jus Soli” or “birth right citizenship”. Unfortunately, Canada’s Citizenship Act is subject to regular abuse, with foreign nationals/visitors exploiting its language to facilitate their offspring’s citizenship.

It’s a violation of Canadian Immigration law to provide misleading or misrepresent one’s real and true reason for Immigration; but the irony lies in the fact that it is not illegal for any mother to set foot in this country and give birth!

Birth tourism is on the rise, exploiting and taking full advantage of a loophole in the Canadian Immigration System. For the past few decades birth tourism has not just become conspicuous but more of a “Rash” that is spreading and requires immediate action on behalf of the government.

Pregnant foreigners are intentionally giving birth/delivering on Canadian Soil, in order to ensure citizenship for their offspring and potentially in the future for themselves! There is no doubt whatsoever that a passport is sometimes a key factor to your future as where you can go/travel; and for the time being it’s an advantage guaranteed by the Canadian Citizenship Act and utilized by visitors/foreigners.

In an interview with CBC’s power and policies, immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s view on Birth tourism was crystal clear:

“We don’t want to encourage birth tourism or passport babies… This is in many cases being used to exploit Canada’s generosity. The vast majority of legal immigrants are going to say this is taking Canada for granted… We need to send the message that Canadian citizenship isn’t just some kind of an access key to the Canadian Welfare State by cynically misrepresenting yourself… It’s about an ongoing commitment and obligation to this country”.

Blunt words by Minister Kenney; opinions might differ as to whether the Harper Government should take such a path. It is noteworthy mentioning that several EU Countries have recently eliminated birth right citizenship in order to end abuse of the system.

The question that needs to be addressed is whether Canada will follow their footsteps and put an end to birth tourism? So what are Canada’s options? Will Canada amend the Citizenship Act so that the so-called “passport babies” are no longer a free-ticket to some in order to acquire and obtain Canadian Citizenship; or maybe CIC needs to plug the holes in the process particularly when it comes to visiting?

Critics might disagree as this would undermine the promise of Canada? Will Canada keep its promises, or will we see what will be considered a monumental change in the history of Canadian Immigration; only time will tell.

Ahmad AlAzem
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku


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“Birth tourism” may change citizenship rules

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