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Dual Citizenship Under Scrutiny

Updated on April 16, 2017
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Nonqaba waka Msimang is a photographer, academic writer, freelance writer and food blogger. She writes about newcomers to North America.

Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister welcomes little girl.
Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister welcomes little girl. | Source

Canada Dual Citizenship

Threats to dual citizenship is quietly on the menu as Canada gears up for the federal election in October 2015, that will determine the new prime minister.

Immigration has always and will always be an election issue in Australia, Canada and the United States, countries that were created from a potpourri of people from different countries and religion.

The threat to dual citizenship can be gleaned from a fight reminiscent of David and Goliath. Zunera Ishaq, a Mississauga woman, originally from Pakistan, believes that she has a right to wear the niqab, when she swears that she will be a loyal Canadian citizen. The government does not agree.

Ishaq took her case to the courts, and the legal system upheld her constitutional right to wear the niqab during citizenship ceremonies. The government has filed an appeal against the court’s decision, and the matter has become an issue for the federal election on the 19th of October, 2015.

Dual Patriotism

I do not remember seeing dual-patriotism, but the term dual citizenship is quite common. It means one person is a citizen of Country A and Country B.

Dual citizenship inevitably leads to immigration, a very emotional issue, especially during elections.

What is ironic is that people who have resided longer, in man-made countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. have dual citizenship. They are basically immigrants. It is therefore hard to understand why, for example, people who came in 1930 are hostile to 1998 immigrants.

White Settlers and Dual Citizenship

You don’t have to come by plane, train, boat or foot to have dual citizenship. You are born in Country A. You can become a citizen of Country B, if your parents or grandparents were born there, without losing your citizenship in Country A.

Dual nationality is allowed in the United Kingdom. This means that once you acquire British citizenship, you do not risk the loss of your first nationality. The quote is from the link below.

Dual citizenship goes back to when Europeans left their continent and went to Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North America to grab, free of charge gold, diamonds, land and labour from these continents.

Europe had very little to offer its citizens because of extreme poverty and wars but they still regarded it as home. That is why dual citizenship is in place. Nobody knew at the time that immigrants who are not of European descent will eventually take the dual citizenship option.

2014 Dual Citizenship Developments

In August 2014, Finland announced that it is going to re-visit the dual citizenship issue, where one third of those carrying Finnish passports are Russian.

This came after a new law about dual citizenship in Russia that kicked in on the first of August. The legislation says if Russians get a second citizenship from another country, they must report it before the end of 60 days, or face a fine.

Dual Patriotism

Russia is one of the countries that feel that dual citizenship is a threat to patriotism. People leave their country and settle in a country next door or somewhere else, for personal reasons.

  • Running away to save daughters from oppressive cultural and religious laws

  • Dire poverty at home

  • Educational reasons

  • Hope of better jobs

  • Natural disasters that decimate animals and the land

  • Ex-politicians running away from persecution

Political Refugees and Dual Citizenship

Immigrants that were active in politics where they come from often find it mentally difficult to settle in a new country.

They were called, Minister, Sir, Headmaster, Alhaji, Oga, or President in the old country. They were men of stature. They lived in houses built on solid ground, not sharing a 16th floor apartment with one toilet with six family members.

Fast forward to North America, where people in the subway don’t even see your face.

Before the internet, ex-politicians subscribed to local newspapers from ‘home’, tuned in to the BBC World Service, ran telephone bills arguing about opposition parties or the state of the revolution they left behind, spend years lobbying local politicians in South Africa, Australia, Canada, U.S, United Kingdom etc. to put pressure on governments in ‘home’ countries.

Now they sit on the computer for hours monitoring the political situation, taking part in online debates and harbouring the hope that things will improve and they will be able to go ‘back home’.

Strain on Family

Dual citizenship can be a strain on the family’s financial resources.

It is not uncommon for certain Canadian or British homes to be the meeting place for revolutionaries or ex-politicians who are working towards changing governments that forced them to flee.

They must have something to eat and drink during their strategy meetings. Obsessed revolutionaries seldom work and women become breadwinners, sometimes taking two or more jobs. Social assistance in never enough, especially in homes with a never ending traffic of exiled politicians.

Educated immigrants in menial jobs abroad is no breaking news. It has been like that since the beginning of time. Think about that when you flag down a taxi. The driver could be an ex-professor from a famous university.

Most immigrants who used to hold high positions in their countries understand that they have to clean malls, wash dishes, clean hotel rooms or sweep Regina city streets to make ends meet.

Obsessed revolutionaries do not. Their time is dedicated to telling the world ‘the truth’ about bad governments ‘back home.’ Women have kids to worry about so they pick up the slack.

Dual Citizenship and Criminal Law

It is a fallacy that if I’m jailed for criminal activities in another country, the Canadian passport will save me from prosecution. That only happens in the movies.

For one, most people do not clock in at their embassy in Adelaide when they are on holiday in Australia. They do not report to the high commission in Maseru if they are visiting Lesotho, Africa. It therefore becomes difficult for embassies of their countries to help them if they are in trouble.

Dual Citizenship and Criminal Law

Before you put your two passports in your purse or laptop bag, it might help if you answer some basic questions.

  • Am I going to see family and friends?

  • Am I going to help put the opposition in power?

  • Am I carrying undeclared foreign currency to help the revolutionaries?

  • Am I a drug mule, carrying drugs to Thailand for anonymous drug lords?

  • What if I’m caught? Will my new country help me?

Criminal Law

Countries have a right to try, in a court of law, people accused of violating the law of the land. I am good as dead if the particular country does not have such courts.

There are many people languishing in prisons abroad because countries have the right to arrest and take to court both citizens and non-citizens.

My two passports cannot save me from prosecution if I’m found guilty. The prosecuting country might even claim me as its citizen, if I was born there.

Little boy has a tag in his shirt, which reduced him a thing, and not a human being.
Little boy has a tag in his shirt, which reduced him a thing, and not a human being. | Source


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