Friday, December 03, 2010

Good news and bad news

Back in October, I blogged about the case of Sital and Usha Ram, an Indian couple who were going to be deported from New Zealand, meaning that their New Zealand born children (who are citizens) would be forced to grow up in a slum, without healthcare or education, while facing pervasive caste discrimination.

The good news announced today is that the government has reversed its decision, releasing Mr Ram from prison (where he was held for 70 days while they made up their mind over whether to deport him - a clear case of imprisonment for bureaucratic convenience), and granting him and his partner 12-month work visas.

The bad news is that this means they'll just deport them in 12 months time. Worse, by then they will have passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, a clause of which allows the Minister to waive the prohibition on children renouncing their citizenship "is in the best interests of the person to do so". Which means that next time, the government will respond to criticisms of the expected living conditions faced by these kiwi kids in India with a claim that "its their own fault", in that they could "easily" give up their citizenship - their birthright - in order to become citizens of India. But what it also means is that when their parents are deported, these kids will not just lose their residency, but be forced to surrender their citizenship as well - another example of the cruelty and evil of New Zealand immigration law.

This has to change. These kids are kiwis, and that means they have an absolute right to stay here. The government should not be able to force them to choose between a decent life in New Zealand, and their parents.