Res­to­ring bir­thright ci­ti­zen­ship

Les Ir­lan­dais veulent ré­ta­blir le droit du sol.

Vocable (Anglais) - - Édito Sommaire -

À l’heure où le droit du sol est re­mis en ques­tion dans un cer­tain nombre de pays, l’Ir­lande joue la carte de l’ori­gi­na­li­té. En ef­fet, un ré­cent son­dage vient de mon­trer que 71% des Ir­lan­dais y sont fa­vo­rables – alors qu’ils l’avaient li­mi­té par ré­fé­ren­dum en 2004. Un pro­jet de loi pour ré­ta­blir le droit du sol dans le pays vient d’être sou­mis au Sé­nat. Com­ment ex­pli­quer ce chan­ge­ment d’opi­nion ?

DUBLIN — Ire­land, which seems intent on bu­cking the illi­be­ral tide in the West, is at it again: As other coun­tries move to tigh­ten res­tric­tions on im­mi­gra­tion, the Irish pu­blic is overw­hel­min­gly in fa­vor of a pro­po­sal to reins­tate bir­thright ci­ti­zen­ship. A pro­po­sed law on the sub­ject pas­sed a pre­li­mi­na­ry vote in the Irish Se­nate in No­vem­ber, three days af­ter an opi­nion poll for the Irish edi­tion of The Sun­day Times of Lon­don sho­wed that 71 percent of re­spon­dents fa­vor bir­thright ci­ti­zen­ship, while 19 percent were op­po­sed and 10 percent un­de­ci­ded. 2. Should it be en­ac­ted, the pro­po­sed law would grant the right to ci­ti­zen­ship to any per­son who is born in Ire­land and sub­se­quent­ly lives in the coun­try for three years, re­gard­less of the pa­rents’ ci­ti­zen­ship or re­si­den­cy sta­tus. It would lar­ge­ly re­verse the ef­fect of a 2004 re­fe­ren­dum in which 79 percent of vo­ters sup­por­ted the re­mo­val of a consti­tu­tio­nal pro­vi­sion gran­ting ci­ti­zen­ship to anyone born in Ire­land.


3. This re­mar­kable swing in pu­blic opi­nion, at a time when Pre­sident Do­nald Trump has cal­led for en­ding bir­thright ci­ti­zen­ship in the Uni­ted States, fol­lows a high-pro­file case in which Eric Zhi Ying Xue, a 9-year-old boy who was born in Ire­land, was threa­te­ned in Oc­to­ber with de­por­ta­tion along with his Chi­nese mo­ther. His tea­chers and class­mates at St. Cro­nan’s School in Coun­ty Wi­ck­low ral­lied around him, and a pe­ti­tion as­king the go­vern­ment not to de­port Eric or his mo­ther col­lec­ted 50,000 si­gna­tures wi­thin a few days. The fa­mi­ly was ins­tead gi­ven three months to make a case to be gi­ven le­gal per­mis­sion to re­main in the coun­try, a pos­sible route to full ci­ti­zen­ship.


4. As po­pu­lar as it may be, the bir­thright ci­ti­zen­ship pro­po­sal has one cri­ti­cal op­ponent: the Irish go­vern­ment, which says it will seek to de­feat the new bill. The go­vern­ment’s op­po­si­tion is ba­sed on the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship bet­ween Ire­land and Nor­thern Ire­land, said a spo­kes­man for the De­part­ment of Jus­tice and Equa­li­ty, which has res­pon­si­bi­li­ty for im­mi­gra­tion mat­ters. Al­though Nor­thern Ire­land is part of the Uni­ted King­dom, its people are le­gal­ly en­tit­led to both Bri­tish and Irish ci­ti­zen­ship.

5. The Irish go­vern­ment fears that people li­ving ille­gal­ly in Bri­tain could move to Nor­thern Ire­land, give birth to a child there and ob­tain Irish ci­ti­zen­ship for their child af­ter li­ving there for three years. The pa­rents could then use the child’s ci­ti­zen­ship to ob­tain re­si­den­cy anyw­here in Ire­land or the Uni­ted King­dom which, though se­pa­rate coun­tries, confer ex­ten­sive mu­tual re­si­den­cy and tra­vel rights on each other’s ci­ti­zens. There are al­so concerns that Bri­tish re­si­dents see­king to re­tain Eu­ro­pean rights to free mo­ve­ment af­ter Bri­tain leaves the Eu­ro­pean Union might use the same me­cha­nism to ob­tain ci­ti­zen­ship in the Re­pu­blic of Ire­land, which will re­main in the bloc.


6. Un­der the current sys­tem, a per­son born in Ire­land must have at least one Irish pa­rent, or se­ve­ral years of le­gal re­si­den­cy in Ire­land by a pa­rent, to qua­li­fy for ci­ti­zen­ship. Sen. Iva­na Ba­cik, who in­tro­du­ced the bill, said the current im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem was too slow and too de­pendent on the opaque de­ci­sions of of­fi­cials. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen a num­ber of cases of chil­dren born and rai­sed in Ire­land, yet who are threa­te­ned with de­por­ta­tion be­cause their pa­rents’ im­mi­gra­tion cases have drag­ged on for years and years,” Ba­cik said. “It shouldn’t be up to the class­mates of frigh­te­ned chil­dren to mount cam­pai­gns to have them stay in the coun­try.”

7. The Irish Coun­cil for Im­mi­grants, an in­de­pendent non­go­vern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion, said that Eric’s case was part of a broa­der pro­blem re­la­ting to the re­gis­tra­tion and le­ga­li­za­tion of chil­dren who were ei­ther born in Ire­land to im­mi­grants in the coun­try ille­gal­ly or brought to the coun­try when they were ve­ry young.

8. This year, stu­dents, tea­chers and pa­rents at a school in Tul­la­more, Coun­ty Of­fa­ly, suc­cess­ful­ly fought the de­por­ta­tion of Non­so Muo­jeke, a 14-year-old who was born in Ni­ge­ria but has li­ved in Ire­land since he was 2. “It is real­ly the class­mates of these chil­dren who are stan­ding up for them,” said Pip­pa Wool­nough, spo­kes­wo­man for the Irish Coun­cil for Im­mi­grants. “It’s people saying, ‘Hang on, this is Eric or Non­so; I play with him af­ter school and he’s part of our com­mu­ni­ty. He’s as Irish as I am.'”


The Irish pu­blic is overw­hel­min­gly in fa­vour of a pro­po­sal to reins­tate bir­thright ci­ti­zen­ship.

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