Top 10 of 2015 – Issue #5: Governments Increasingly Restrict Citizenship

One of the top international trends in immigration and citizenship policy by the Migration Policy Institute:

The question of who belongs in a nation strikes at the heart of a country’s identity. It is no surprise therefore that governments typically set high requirements governing who can acquire citizenship—and reserve the right to strip it from those who would do the nation harm. In 2015, both citizenship acquisition and revocation came under fire in new ways. Politicians in a number of countries—including the United States—have attempted to restrict who is eligible to become a citizen, while others have expanded the definition of who can be deprived of citizenship

Those restricting eligibility have largely been driven by the aim of excluding descendants of unauthorized immigrants or contested minority groups from citizenship—drawing a bright line around “desired” citizens. The second trend has mainly been driven by fears of international terrorism. Canada, Australia, and a handful of European countries have passed or proposed legislation making it easier to strip suspected terrorists—almost all of whom are Muslim and male—of what should be a nation’s most secure and permanent right. Both trends come with a high penalty: potentially marginalizing immigrant or minority communities, and in some cases rendering individuals stateless (for more on the political rhetoric driving these trends, see Issue #6: Refugee Crisis Deepens Political Polarization in the West).

Source: Top 10 of 2015 – Issue #5: Governments Increasingly Restrict Citizenship |

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Top 10 of 2015 – Issue #5: Governments Increasingly Restrict Citizenship

  1. Marion Vermeersch says:

    As one of thousands of Canadians who have experienced the loss of citizenship, or insistence that it never existed, I am very concerned to see this as a trend. It has definitely unnecessarily caused harm to countless perfectly undeserving people and does not seem to have prevented any harm to the country. If citizenship is to be revoked, at least the use of the court systems should be the process, not the particular politician or bureaucrat of the moment.

    By identifying large groups of people, such as those with, or entitled to, dual citizenship, countries are further needlessly stigmatizing them and depriving them of positive opportunities.

    I hope that Canada will lead the way in reversing this trend, as promised by our current government prior to election.

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