June 24, 2010

And Then There Were More...

I was directed to this article in the Crewe Chronicle -

Crewe teenager in passport dilemma told she isn’t British

HASLINGTON teenager who has spent her entire life in the UK is unable to travel abroad because passport authorities told her she isn’t British.

Samantha Jones, 19, who lives in Primrose Avenue with boyfriend John Antrobus, has been told she is not eligible for a British passport despite the fact she was born in Blackburn and her father Chris, who lives in Crewe, was born in Burnley.

Samantha’s mother, Beate Kay nee Steinhaus, who is a German national, has lived in the UK for the last 20 years.

Although, a UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: “Under the British Nationality Act 1981, a person born in the UK on or after January 1, 1983, is a British citizen at birth if, at that time either parent is a British Citizen or either parent is settled in the UK. If citizenship is to be derived from the father’s status, and the child was born before July 1, 2006, then the parents must be married.”

Samantha’s parents were never married and her mother holds only a German passport.

In her frustration, Samantha has also applied for a German passport, only to be rejected as she is not eligible under strict name regulations, unless she changes her surname to Steinhaus.

Samantha has now been told her only option is to fork out £735 to complete a British naturalisation application.

The Air Products account manager said: “If I’m not English and I’m not German then what am I?

“I feel like an alien and I don’t belong anywhere. All I want to do is go on holiday like everyone else.

“I can’t afford £735 and I shouldn’t have to. As far as I know people can come in to this country and take a citizenship test just to prove they know who Winston Churchill is. I’d pass with flying colours but they say I have to pay.”

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson has written to the UK Border Agency, and in September, the now former Home Secretary Alan Johnson on Samantha’s behalf.

Mr Timpson said: “I sympathise with Samantha’s situation, and having taken up her case, am equally frustrated. However, *the law is the law, and the UKBA is not backing down from its ruling.

“I will be writing to the new Home Secretary to highlight this rather strange set of circumstances.”

* The law doesn't have to be the law. Remember, nationality law was changed in 2002 and 2009, respectively, for all children born to British mothers. Nationality law was changed in 2006 for children born after 1 July 2006 to unmarried British fathers. All of these children are now able to derive UK citizenship from at least one British parent because those laws were changed. Based on this alone, in the case of children born before 1 July 2006 to unmarried British fathers - THE LAW CAN BE CHANGED.

June 8, 2010

Was Registration Refused?

Unmarried British fathers, please contact me if the Home Office refused to register your minor child's birth (or if there were extreme difficulties in being granted registration). The same goes if you're a child born to an unmarried British father. Do you recall if your birth was refused registration by the Home Office?

I had a conversation with a fellow sufferer of citizenship inequality, and her story was quite shocking. It seems her father was denied the opportunity to register her birth because it was a church marriage, not a legal marriage. Since she was a minor at the time, there should have been no barriers in registration of her birth.

That makes no sense because children born out of wedlock are eligible to have their births registered under Section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act, so long as they are minors at the time of registration. This is done at the discretion of an immigration officer.

This put me in research mode, uncovering a treasure trove of instances where either the child was denied registration or the father experienced extreme difficulties in trying register their child's birth (some have been added to the side panel under "News Stories").

The British government is claiming registration of minors, at the discretion of the Home Office, will allow an illegitimate child born to a British father to acquire British citizenship. Yet, the government turns around and refuses said registration.

It's time the government remove all cutoff dates and allow ALL children born to unmarried British fathers, regardless of their birth year, the opportunity to have their births registered so they can be eligible to acquire British citizenship. It's standard for all children born to married British fathers, and it's been recently granted to all children born to British mothers. We're the last group experiencing nationality discrimination.

Those still affected by citizenship inequality are still trying to figure out why the British government treats an illegitimate child born on or before 30 June 2006 drastically different than a child born on or after 1 July 2006.

E-Mail Response From Nick Clegg

On 22 February, I sent an e-mail to Mr. Nick Clegg, then former leader of the Liberal Democrats, discussing the need for change in nationality law for children born out of wedlock to British fathers. On 7 April, I was surprised to receive a response from Clegg's office, on his behalf.

The law forbids me from posting his response in its entirety, but I can say that it simply acknowledged our situation. Understandably, Mr. Clegg did not have any specific details to go by, so he could not give a direct opinion on the subject of nationality discrimination. But I was pleased to have any response at all on the matter.

Naturally, since Mr. Clegg is now Deputy Prime Minister, I am hopeful this is the start of something positive.