Immigration Decision Provokes ‘Secret Justice’ Fight

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is in the news because she is refusing to disclose why some immigrants have been refused British citizenship. Her refusal has triggered a legal battle over “secret justice”.

This news story in The Huffington Post caught my eye because of two points in particular:

Theresa May declared that she was not satisfied the unsuccessful applicants were “of good character”.

and

In written statements before the court, Eadie [James Eadie QC, representing the Home Secretary] argued that naturalisation was “a privilege not a right”

This begs a couple questions: Why should those of us with a British parent be required to register, and provide two references, as well as undergo a background check and be of “good character” and have to be approved before we can claim our right to British Citizenship? And does this ruling mean that some of us might be refused, and never be told why?

Furthermore, having a British parent does give us the “right” to claim British citizenship!

To be British by descent is a birthright. The Government currently recognises this for some but not all.

It’s hard to believe that this blatant inequality is ongoing. It’s time for this unjust law to be corrected once and for all.

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26 Responses to Immigration Decision Provokes ‘Secret Justice’ Fight

  1. Chris says:

    Not wanting to disclose information? Makes sense now why my Freedom of Information request was not responded to…

    Not surprising that people are having their birth right taken away by the Home Secretary’s “judgement” of their character!

  2. It’s very disheartening and a disgrace that you never got an answer to your Freedom of Information request, Chris.

    We have no way of knowing if anyone who applied for their right to British citizenship by descent, was turned down on the grounds that they were not deemed to be “of good character”.

    This route to conditional citizenship is designed for immigrants and is not at all appropriate for children of a British parent.It’s outrageous that those of us with a British parent have to apply for our right to claim citizenship and there’s the potential to possibly be rejected.

  3. Tony says:

    The question is a good one, but missing the essential point, which is why should those of us with a British mother (as opposed to a British father)….

  4. You’re right, Tony. These outrageous conditions applies to those of us with a British mother but not to children of British fathers.

    Why are those of us with a British mother not able to claim the same right to unconditional citizenship as do the children of British fathers? Why do we have to be “approved”- and possibly be rejected ? It’s absolutely outrageous and an insult to our mothers.

  5. Chris says:

    Does anybody know if these people can appeal the Home Office’s decision? Maybe at the European Court of Human Rights?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Its ironic that the queen can pass on a birth right , but a a female British citizen cannot

  7. Chris says:

    Just found an interesting fact.

    First is that you can only apply for registration in your Country of birth. So a likely situations is someone living in the UK would have to fly back to their Country of birth to submit forms, which they then pay £65 for, to be posted back to the UK. This is on top of the cost for registration and flights back to their Country of birth, while others can simply apply for a passport without all this hassle.

    Second is the huge back log of applications. I have been informed my brothers application could take as long as 18 months!

    And they call this fair?

  8. Chris, do you have a link to refer to about the need to apply for registration in country of birth?

  9. Tim says:

    It is very sad that there is so much descrimination still existing in a modern western country. I keep on going back in my mind to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, a book I last read at school fifty years ago, where Napolepn Pig stated that, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others!” I think this says it all!

  10. Chris says:

    We were told in SA that you must apply in your Country on birth. Obviously we can’t wait 18 months so we were looking at other options. Maybe travel on a holiday visa, then apply once in the UK. Which is when we were told this nonsense. Although I can’t find anything online to support this…

  11. Chris, I think you were misinformed. I checked the Home Office website and I couldn’t find anything about the need to apply in your country of birth.

  12. Tim says:

    I tend to agree, since I am only a visitor to the US from SA and I applied for registration and my passport from here last year and received both here with no hassles. There were a few extra costs involved for courier fees etc.. Hope this is of help? Happy Spring to all.

  13. Chris says:

    Yeah I check their website myself. From what I read you can apply in the UK no matter where you were born.

    Can’t trust anything until verified these days!

  14. Anonymous says:

    If I also may add. Why should those who acquire the British Citizenship by Naturalization are able to pass on the Citizenship to their children while same is denied from those who are citizens by descent (except to their children who are not over 18 years old ). Kareem

  15. Ants says:

    My father is British and I’m not (though his other children are) because my mother refused to marry him. If he’d been female, I’d have had the chance to register for British citizenship; because he is male, I have absolutely zero chance to do so even by paying fees. Let’s not say, please, that all children of British fathers have British nationality. This is very damaging as it overlooks the extreme pain inflicted by these unjust laws on the only children of British parents to be COMPLETELY barred from citizenship. It allows us to be ignored completely and left out in the cold even when finally everyone else is given justice. Let’s ask for ALL gender and age discrimination to be abolished, not just some of it.

  16. Maureen says:

    Ants,
    It’s true that not all children of British fathers can claim British nationality but it’s also true that the law always gave preference to British fathers (if married) and British mothers were denied the right to pass on citizenship to children born outside the UK. As the law stands now, ‘some’ British mothers and ‘some’ British fathers – and their offspring – are being discriminated against.

    The British by Descent Campaign fights for British citizenship equality.

    Please note that the campaign is addressing two issues!

    Children born abroad before 1983 to British mothers
    and
    Children born out-of-wedlock, before 1 July 2006, to British fathers

  17. Ants says:

    I just see comments every so often that make it seem as if no children of British fathers are discriminated against (e.g., above, “These outrageous conditions applies to those of us with a British mother but not to children of British fathers”), and this makes me fear that children of British fathers who are in fact discriminated against may thereby be ignored. We are very easy to ignore, yet we suffer just as much. Equality with exceptions is not equality. I’m glad the campaign is against both forms of discrimination, and I hope that if it is able to reach the ears of the authorities, it will not forget us!

  18. What I find most Irritating is that in 2003, when the 61 to 83’s could ‘Register’ and the Act was delayed, to give the Home Office ‘TIME’ to get ready for it (yeah right), the Very first person to be granted Registration was Kenny Ritchie, a scottish man, wrongly accused – on DEATH ROW in the USA. He was allowed to apply 30 days before the rest of us so that he could get UK consular representation and be transferred to a UK Prison (and released).
    IF he had to meet the current requirements, he would still be on ‘Death Row’ in the usa.
    I am still fighting for “FULL PARITY” but believe/feel we will get no where with her mag the hag- Theresa May, till after this Con-Dem Coalition falls apart of we have our next general Election by no later than May 2015. The Conservatives created this situation in the first instance, and in the NIA 1981, came into force 01 Jan 1983, they could have resolved it, did NOT make it retrospective.
    No Tory govt is going to give us our ‘Birth Right’! They have stripped us in the past and prevented us in the past. It took shear egg on their face less than a decade ago to get them to agree to it being in the Queen’s Speech!
    Yes, still highly annoyed at the lack of ‘PARITY’ and will continue fighting this till my last breath!

  19. From me, a very very special Thanks to Maureen for her ‘Blog’ for anyone affected or feeling ‘like minded’ to air their disappointment with our continuing sex discrimiating government!

  20. Tim says:

    Snap!! Brava! I cannot thank Maureen enough for her BLOG. I was just beginning to understand the meaning of the word, when I stumbled on “A View from England” a fwe years ago and it changed my life. Maureen you have been an absolute stalwart and I join Michael in thanking you. I would like to mention to Michael that it was very odd that the very month that the European Court of Human Rights in Strassburg was to take my case to the British Government, they announced the change for children born of British mothers before 1983. For so many of us it has been a very long battle. So once again, thank you dear heart, Maureen.

  21. Michael and Tim, Thank you! I sincerely appreciate the positive feedback from both of you about this blog and your ongoing support for the campaign.

    Tim, I didn’t realize that the change in the law was announced in the very month that the European Court of Human Rights was going to take your case to the British Government. I appreciate the information. I agree that the timing does seem like quite an odd coincidence indeed. And although the law was amended, the fact remains that the British Government still continues to discriminate! It may still be necessary to take our fight – for equal rights to British citizenship by descent – to the European Court of Human Rights.

  22. Tim says:

    Hi Maureen, What actually happened was that I received the documents from the European Court with the case details but was advised that I needed to appoint a British QC to act for me but it ahd to be at my expense. I was in a total quandry as I could not afford one. I dilly dallied for about a month and was becoming very anxious since I had to notify the court when to go ahead and I only had six months to decide. I cannot remember the exact details but I was in correspondence with people in the UKBA when I received an e-mail advising me of the pending change, and so cancelled the case. It was odd because just before that I had received a letter from the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas, in reply to an appeal I wrote to him, where he advised me that I did not qualify for citizenship.

  23. Hi Tim. Thank you for providing more details about what happened. It’s very interesting indeed. Perhaps your story would convince Liberty (or another human rights organisation) that we should have their support for putting our case to the European Court of Human Rights.

  24. Tim says:

    Hi Maureen, I did write to Liberty many years ago and have the letter stored back in my home country. However, I was very disillusioned with them as their reply indicated that they had no interest in helping me at the time. Maybe they have shifted their interests??

  25. Hi Tim, It’s a shame that Liberty weren’t willing to support your case. I’ve been very disappointed by them in the past too when they didn’t support my complaint about discrimination. I was just thinking that perhaps Liberty would be interested in your story now because of the ‘coincidental’ timing of events.

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