Stateless Canadians Face Immigration And Citizenship Obstacles
There are many Canadians facing bureaucratic obstacles to securing their citizenship. There are—often outdated—rules that make it difficult to become a Canadian citizen, and some that can revoke your citizenship even if you’ve already been a citizen for your entire life. Immigration lawyers in Canada can provide guidance to those who are facing these obstacles. The following is an account of one woman who was stripped of her citizenship without being notified.
Bertha Funk, a Canadian citizen, lost her citizenship on her 28th birthday, and she only found out about this loss when she applied for a replacement citizenship card at the age of 36. Funk was born in Mexico and moved to Canada in 1980 when she was two months old. Funk’s father was also born in Mexico to Canadian parents. Funk has been a Canadian citizen her entire life, but lost her citizenship because of a rule she was unaware of. This rule is from the Citizenship Act of 1977, and has since been repealed. However, Funk was never notified of the rule or warned about the upcoming deadline to prevent her loss of citizenship.
This rule required Funk to reapply for her citizenship prior to her 28th birthday. She is not the only foreign-born Canadian citizen who is affected by this rule. Any foreign-born person born between February 15, 1977 and April 16, 1981 to foreign-born Canadian parents must reapply for their citizenship before turning 28.
Since Funk lost her citizenship by missing the deadline, she now has to apply for permanent resident status as an immigrant or a discretionary grant of citizenship—which takes a long time to process, and is not guaranteed. Either way, a Canadian citizen is now considered a stateless immigrant, and may never gain back her citizenship.
There are many cases of stateless Canadians (sometimes referred to as “lost Canadians”) who are stuck in bureaucratic limbo, not knowing if they will ever regain their citizenship. This problem is often the result of a lack of communication between immigration officials and Canadians—as was the case with Bertha Funk.
If Funk had been notified prior to the deadline, she wouldn’t be in this stateless limbo. She is no longer considered a Canadian citizen due to circumstances beyond her control. Immigration lawyers in Canada are familiar with these and similar cases—when red tape gets in the way of people fully enjoying their Canadian rights and freedoms, and having a country to call home. Their expertise can help sort out these situations and provide clients the peace of mind and results they deserve.