Maryam Monsef still waiting on citizenship paperwork after birthplace revelation

Maryam Monsef still waiting on citizenship paperwork after birthplace revelation
From CBC - November 23, 2017

More than a year after Maryam Monsef revealed she was not actually born in Afghanistan, as she had previously believed, the Liberal cabinet minister is still waiting for the government to update her documents.

"Just like everybody else, I am waiting my turn," the status of women minister said in an interview with The Canadian Press last week.

In September 2016, the Globe and Mail reported that Monsef, hailed by the Liberals as Canada's first Afghan-born MP, was actually born in Mashhad, Iran, a city about 200 kilometres away from the border with Afghanistan.

At the time, Monsef said her parents fled Afghanistan as the security situation there deteriorated and that after her father was killed, her mother never discussed what the minister described as the unspeakable pain of those early yearsuntil media inquiries prompted Monsef to press her for details.

"She told us she did not think it mattered," Monsef said in a September 2016 statement. "We were Afghan citizens, as we were born to Afghan parents, and under Iranian law, we would not be considered Iranian citizens despite being born in that country."

Monsef, who had listed her birthplace as Herat, Afghanistan, when she applied for a Canadian passport, promised she would take steps to fix the error. Since then, she has submitted documentation to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, but is still waiting for a resolution.

Information on passport unclear

"There's just nothing to tell," said Monsef, who made it clear she did not wish to be questioned about it further. "I am as Canadian as you are. The paperwork is done and when there is news, I will be sure to share it with you."

Celia Canon, a spokeswoman for Monsef, did not answer follow-up questions about the matter, including whether Monsef was still travelling on a passport containing erroneous personal information.

The Immigration Department would not comment specifically on her case, citing privacy reasons, but did outline the potential steps involved should someone need to correct their birthplace on their passport.

"The passport applicant must indicate the same place of birth that is on their birth certificate or citizenship document," departmental spokesman Remi Lariviere wrote in a emailed statement.

"If there is an error in these documents, they must be corrected before submitting a passport application," said Lariviere, noting the applicant would not be eligible to use the renewal process, and would instead have to make a general application.

Misrepresentation grounds for stripped citizenship


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