Position Paper: Citizenship for children, and former children, in state and foster care in Canada

POSITION: Citizenship for children, and former children, in state and foster care in Canada

Women’s Wellness Within: An Organization Serving Criminalized Women (WWW) believes that all children in state and foster care in Canada who are eligible for citizenship must be granted citizenship immediately. Adults who should have been granted citizenship as children in state or foster care, such as Abdoul Abdi, must also be granted citizenship immediately.

Refugees who, as children, were not cared for as intended by the government are being punished with deportation.  This is a shameful way of dealing with the results of a system that failed the child. It fails all Canadians to treat those in our care in such a way.

Abdi served his sentence in the Canadian criminal justice system. If he were a citizen, as he should have been, he would have returned home to his daughter at the end of his sentence. Instead, he was detained and nearly sent to a country from which he fled as a child, where he has no family, no way to survive, and would be in great danger.

The deportations of Abdoul Abdi, Fliss Cramman, and Debra Spencer, were rightfully stayed, but only with pressure from advocacy groups such as WWW. The practice of ordering deportations of people who have experienced criminalization after coming to Canada who should have been granted Canadian citizenship as children is inhumane. As described by Abdoul Abdi’s lawyer, Benjamin Perryman, these children were “denied the right to even have rights.”

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Grace Szucs