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Immigration

Children of Canadian ISIS brides entitled to citizenship

The so-called "caliphate cubs" — children of Canadian women who have given birth to children of ISIS fighters — are entitled to Canadian citizenship and the women could legally return to Canada, Toronto immigration lawyer Andrew Carvajal tells CTV News.

Carvajal makes his comments in connection with a University of Waterloo study which revealed at least five Canadians ISIS brides have given birth or become pregnant in Syria.

“The women travelled separately over the past two years, appear to have gone on their own accord, and left their families in Canada devastated, according to researcher Amarnath Amarasingam,” the network news outlet reports. “Amarasingam said the women — who he agreed to make anonymous — are between the ages of 19 and 22, and are from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.”

Carvajal, a partner with Desloges Law Group, tells CTV News: “These children have done no wrong doing. They are Canadian by the sake of being born and they are entitled to their citizenship.”

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, Carvajal explains there are some limited exceptions to this entitlement.

“The most significant exception would be second generation Canadians,” he tells the online legal publication. “So if the children are born to a mother who herself was not born in Canada but acquired citizenship through her parents, that would be an exception. However, if the mother was born in Canada or the mother became a naturalized Canadian citizen after applying for it, then the children are entitled to Canadian citizenship.”

He says that under s. 19 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Canadian citizens have an absolute right to enter and remain in Canada.

Carvajal says that while the former Harper government introduced changes to the Citizenship Act, whereby a dual citizen could be subject to revocation of their Canadian citizenship in certain circumstances, the new Trudeau government has been quite clear they are against such measures.

“The Liberal government has made a clear commitment that they will be amending these provisions of the Citizenship Act so that Canadians cannot lose their citizenship,” he says. “Aside from this, even if these mothers have their citizenship revoked or if they were subject to revocation proceedings, I don’t see how this should affect their children’s right to Canadian citizenship at the time of their birth.”

While it can be difficult to separate the actions of ISIS, the parents and their children, Carvajal notes that to this point the children are innocent and have done nothing wrong by the fact of being born.

“You can’t presume that someone is guilty of something by virtue of who their parents are, whether born in Canada or not,” he says. “They are, and should be, entitled to their Canadian citizenship just as any other child of a Canadian parent.”

He says the focus should be on investigating, charging or even prosecuting those suspected or engaged in criminal or terrorist activity, whether born in Canada or not.

“However, it would be dangerous to carve out specific exceptions regarding who is entitled to Canadian citizenship and who isn’t depending on the political affiliation of their parents,” Carvajal says. “In addition to being unconstitutional, how would we differentiate between children born of a planned conception or children born of something like sexual assault.”

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