At least the U.S. government has people thinking about the meaning of citizenship

When it’s all said and done, FATCA is likely to result in the rethinking of what citizenship means, how it is acquired, how it can be renounced and more.

Two recent articles on this topic:

Citizenship and Consent – Excerpts include:

Yesterday’s CBC story about Carol Tapanila and her disabled son is very troubling but it is so much more than just a story about the unintended (and terrible) consequences of one extraterritorial law. …
This is the underlying problem Carol Tapanila’s son and so many other Accidental Americans are confronted with today.  They have a status, U.S. citizenship, they did not choose – one that was conferred upon them without their explicit consent – but they are being held nonetheless to the duties and responsibilities of that status.  And I contend that there is something deeply deeply immoral about that and it both defies common sense and flies in the face of what it means to be a citizen of a democratic nation-state.

Harper government plans to make it harder to become a Canadian citizen – Excerpts include:

In what has been described as the “first comprehensive reforms to the Citizenship Act in more than a generation,” the controversial bill is expected to be introduced in the House of Commons sometime in 2014.

Some of the changes being proposed include extending the qualifying period for residence to obtain Canadian Citizenship from the current three years in a four period to a longer time frame. Minister Alexander suggested that it was “time to consider increasing the threshold.”

“I think the balance of considerations is in favour of a longer requirement,” he said. “There’s only one way of truly understanding what it means to be Canadian, what it means to participate in Canadian life and that is by living here.”

Another expected change is the elimination of the automatic grant of Canadian Citizenship for those born in Canada. Reportedly Canada and the United States are the only developed countries in the World that grant citizenship to individuals born on their territory. …

For a number of years Conservatives, and other commentators, have been complaining about “birth tourism” or tourists who come to Canada with the purpose of giving birth in Canada so that the child will acquire Canadian Citizenship.

Former immigration minister Jason Kenney was adamantly opposed to this current practice. “Granting citizenship based on place of birth is ‘outdated’ and the rules need to change to prevent the proliferation of passport babies.”

Prediction: The U.S. government will be forced to abandon the notion that it can force citizenship on AT LEAST people born outside the U.S.

We are living in interesting times.

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