If the current proposed amendment to immigration laws is passed, children born to foreigners in the country will be denied nationality hence resulting in a sharp increase in the number of undocumented migrants according to an immigration lawyer. The amendments are related to Regulations on the Registration of Births and Deaths Act.
While under the present Act, all children born in South Africa are eligible to receive a birth certificate as permitted by the constitution, the proposed amendments, however, have it that children born to foreigners in the country would be granted ‘confirmation of birth’ in place of a birth certificate.
A Legal View
Stefanie de Saude-Darbandi, an immigration lawyer, said denying children born in the country nationality is unconstitutional and feels there are hidden undertones. She said one could not but question the rationale behind the ‘odd’ move as many other countries, including the United States, grant citizenship to children born in the countries.
Stefanie said children born to the country would not have nationality for the rest of their lives if the draft is passed. This will make it hard for them to apply for medical and school aid because the first requirement to get such aid is the birth certificate. This is a violation of the right of people, she retorted.
She said these amendments are not a good idea on many levels including being a major hindrance to bringing investors to the country.
As to whether it will be passed, Stefanie said she does not think so. Nevertheless, she noted that laws that breach the Constitution had been passed in the past hence this particular one might also be passed if people do not stand against it as much as possible despite obviously unconstitutional.
She affirmed that whoever drafted this bill has a hidden agenda stating what is to be gained by stripping children of birth certificates.
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