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The birth tourists

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Ripping rights away from babies born on Canadian soil is another Conservative plan to keep our country “safe” from the threat of immigrants and refugees. The secret immigration recommendations report from 2013 that has recently become public uses a scare tactic that singles out birth tourists as a third-world risk that are arriving in droves and abusing the Canadian system.

Brought into question are Nigerian women who have been coming to Toronto to give birth. How many and how often? The Cons aren’t too sure on the data, but anecdotally they’ve heard it’s happening quite a bit and they’re not happy about it. The best estimate they can give is 500 of the 360 000 births every year are not from Canadian citizens or permanent residents—that’s less than one percent.

Two major points here: first, should we really be creating new laws based on anecdotal evidence? I’d prefer our government to rely on facts, but let’s be honest here, they don’t have a great track record of doing that. Second, what is the actual threat? There’s no denying that some women from poverty-stricken countries are pulling their resources together to ensure their child is born a Canadian citizen, with all of the social benefits that come along with that. And yes, that child will have the opportunity to sponsor their parents to come to Canada at the age of 18. But we’re not so overpopulated that allowing new people into our country is going to destroy the system. Do you know many immigrants who don’t try hard when they come to Canada or end up begging on the street? It’s xenophobia that makes us look at others with contempt and distrust. But each person who comes to Canada is just like natural-born Canadians in that they want to establish a good life for themselves and their children.

Birth tourism is not the huge scandal the Conservatives want us to believe it is. Making 500 children every year stateless seems like a bigger crime than giving birth on Canadian soil.

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