After President Donald Trump announced his intention to end birthright citizenship for children of non-citizens born in the United States, questions were raised in the media about what is birthright citizenship and does it exist in Canada.
Trump said he is planning to sign an executive order to end the right to citizenship for babies born to non-citizens on US soil. The right is protected under Amendment 14 of the US Constitution[http://constitutionus.com/#amendments] which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Whether or not the President has the power to overrule the constitution to end the practice has been hotly debated in the media. In one interview, Trump falsely claimed that the US is the only country that has birthright citizenship. In fact, there are about 30 countries in the world that guarantee citizenship to people born within their borders.[pullquote]”Despite false anti-immigration rhetoric, the parents of a Canadian born child do not receive automatic citizenship.”[/pullquote]
Does Canada have birthright citizenship?
Yes, it does. The United States and Canada are the only two countries designated as “developed” by the International Monetary Fund that have unrestricted birthright citizenship laws. Canada accords full and automatic citizenship by virtue of the place of birth, known as jus soli, or right of the soil, regardless of the citizenship of the parents. This principle originates from the British Common law system and was made official in 1977 under the Citizenship Act.
No European practise birthright citizenship while some so-called developed countries, such as the UK and Australia, require at least one parent to be a citizen before a child born within their territory can be granted automatic citizenship.
Can non-citizens come to Canada to deliver a child?
Non-citizens and non-residents of Canada are allowed to come to Canada to deliver a child. That child would then be afforded full Canadian citizenship. This is sometimes referred to as “birth tourism”. President Trump in the US calls these children “anchor babies”, which is used as a derisory term.
It’s not just in the United States where the practice has been criticized. Malcolm Brodie, The Mayor of Richmond, BC, recently said people coming from other countries to give birth was a problem in the city and he did not believe being born on Canadian soil should grant a person automatic citizenship.
In Canada, so-called “birth tourism” is not illegal and expectant mothers cannot be denied a Canadian visa because they intend to deliver the baby here, provided they meet the admissibility criteria for their country of origin such as having sufficient income.
What rights does a child born in Canada to non-citizens have?
A Canadian-born child, regardless of the status of its parents, receives all the rights and privileges of Canadian citizenship such as the right to live in Canada or to re-enter at any time without a visa. They are also entitled to such things as free education, access to health care and social benefits.
Do family members receive any entitlements?
Despite false anti-immigration rhetoric, the parents of a Canadian born child do not receive automatic citizenship as well. Most parents of children born here decide to return to their home countries to raise the child, then when he or she is old enough, they will be able to return to Canada as a Canadian citizen.
Non-resident parents of children born here are subject to whichever temporary visa, such as visitor, student or work permit, they used to enter Canada. When this expires they must return.
Other family members, such as the father, are allowed to visit the newborn child in hospital in Canada but they must also go back when their visa runs out.
If, when the child comes of age, he or she decides to move to Canada they could sponsor an eligible family member to live as a permanent resident, however, this process would be exactly the same for the family of a naturalized Canadian or someone who became a citizen as an adult.
More information about Canadian citizenship
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