Chloe’s parents could not get a passport for her and so could not travel across national borders. For nearly two years, Chloe and her family were stuck in Belgium, with no solution found; their predicament ended when Canadian citizenship papers for Chloe “mysteriously” arrived in late 2010.

2. A Multinational Family

Across the world, in Beijing, China, another baby girl was born just one month before Chloe. Rachel Chandler’s father, Patrick, was a Canadian citizen who had been living in Beijing for some time, teaching English. Since China does not follow the law of jus soli, being born in Beijing did not afford Rachel Chinese citizenship. Her mother Fiona, however, was a Chinese citizen; China does follow the law of jus sanguinis, so it appeared that Rachel might have been granted Chinese citizenship automatically. However, Chinese law disallowed it, because Rachel’s mother was not married at the time of Rachel’s birth.

Again, Canada’s Bill C-37 prevented Rachel from inheriting her father’s citizenship. He had been born in Libya, to Canadian parents, making him the first generation and Rachel the second. But Rachel’s predicament ended a little differently from Chloe’s.

It was discovered that Rachel’s paternal grandfather had dual citizenship: he had been born in Ireland, emigrated to Canada, and was now both Irish and a naturalized Canadian. Rachel was entitled to Irish citizenship because of Ireland’s jus sanguinis law, which is not limited to a certain number of generations. So with a Canadian father and a Chinese mother, Rachel is now an Irish citizen.

Citizenship Matters
As the world gets smaller and the global village gets bigger, citizenship matters may get more complicated. Already, immigration, refugee, and human rights lawyers work thousands of hours trying to find ways for stateless individuals to gain citizenship of a particular country—or even any country at all.

Such struggles are important. Citizenship matters. Through your citizenship, you have legal protection, rights, and freedoms. You also have a sense of belonging and an opportunity to
contribute to your very own corner of our global village, a corner
called “home.”

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