Sunday, October 25, 2009
a controversial issue
I am sitting here watching a BBC debate on immigration in the UK and it has got me thinking. A representative for the BNP is arguing about Britains "indigneous" people ,its immigrants, and their right to gain citizenship. The reaction of the audience has been that of outrage towards Mr. Nick Griffin's comments throughout the show. He wants the British government to pull up the ladder on immigration into the country.It's a view from the far right .
Switch now to a conversation I had this week with an Arab national , whose three children were born in Canada , carry a Canadian passport, but reside in the UAE. Low and behold, said lady is pregnant again and is now seeking a new country to deliver her new born baby in . She asked me to ask a family member in the know , whether or not she could pop over to Ireland ( as it is so much closer than Canada ) to give birth .
So, I obliged and did a bit of research for her. It turns out , that after a "free for all " on Irish immigration , which saw any Irish Born Children ( IBCs) getting automatic citizenship, the Irish laws on immigration have tightened up. It is no longer possible to hop off a plane at 8 months pregnant , stay for a month or two, never to return, but have a child who automatically gets an Irish passport.
Am I being too harsh in my thinking when I think that the idea of somebody getting nationality for no other reason other than simply being born in a country, is a bit off ? Is it really that easy to do it?Would the "citizen" be liable to pay tax in their adult life? And if the Irish government have managed to put a stop to it , are Canadian and American governments really allowing it ? How does it benefit them? If you are going to live in a country, contribute to its economy, learn a little about its culture and identify at least some aspect of your persona with being Irish , then fine . Would I think of this in a different light if I came from a country that didn't have the most desirable passport in the world? ( Not saying for a second that Ireland has the most desirable passport , but it ain't the worst by any stretch of the imagination )
What amazed me was that some people don't seem to realise what a contentious issue this is with certain nations. They have no qualms about openly seeking nothing but a piece of paper - without being willing to do anything for it !If you want to live in a country - thats a different story. But popping out a baby and running back home is a whole other issue. If a country is not good enough for you to spend more than a month in , then why should that country issue you with a passport? If neither parents have a substantial tie to a country - have no intention of anything but gleaning the benefits of the passport , then should it be allowed?
Maybe someone can help me see this from an angle I haven't thought of yet ...Is a sense of Arab identity less important than future opportunities and easier travel?I understand that this move is generally to improve opportunities for their offspring - but is that a good enough reason? Will the passport holder pledge loyalty to its host country in years to come?
HE agrees with the notion of going elsewhere for a week or two for the sake of a passport. But it just doesn't sit right with me . I know it is common place in this region for those who can afford it . Is it right for people to accept the protection and benefits of another countries passport when they haven't ever resided there? Or does all that just not matter- as it is just a piece of paper - albeit an important one?