In the previous part of this post I wrote about the mistake the lady at the international center of my university made when she wrote in a form, I needed for renewing my driving license, that I am a citizen of Kuwait. She thought that I am a Kuwaiti because I was born in Kuwait.
After September 11, 2001 around 2002 or 2003 there was a new regulation, at that time, that all foreigners should register at the nearest immigration office. It was stated that “aliens” need to visit the immigration office once every year. Fortunately, this regulation didn’t last more than a year because the government found it is not convenient for both the foreigners and the locals. The number of the foreign task force and the number of foreign students in the US is so big they can’t afford to waste time and money with such policy especially that registering at the immigration office needs people to cross cities and waste the whole day and maybe more. I guess this is when they decided to replace this policy with the annual renewing of the driving license which is much easier (read part 1).
The process of registration at the immigration office takes half day at least. Forms to fill up, documents to provide, waiting in one room, then waiting in another room, and of course there is the INTERVIEW. I am not sure what they were thinking when they wanted foreigners to go over this process every year. It was waste of time and money.
During my interview at the immigration office, one of the questions the interviewer asked, while she was staring at my Jordanian passport, was “You were born in Kuwait but you don’t have a Kuwaiti citizenship?” I answered “yes”. But the interviewer already knows the answer this wasn’t a question to know about something, it was a kind of a sarcasm question. She had a mocking smile when she asked me this question. In my opinion, she has all the right to smile and to even laugh it out loud. Yes, I was born in Kuwait and grow up there until I was 15 yet I don’t have a Kuwaiti passport even if I lived there for 10 or 20 more years I don’t have the right to be Kuwaiti. So, yes this American lady had all the right to laugh at us, the Arab.
Kuwait is not the only Arab country that does not grant its citizenship to the new born children. I used to think that all Arab countries are against jus soli1 but a Tunisian friend told me that anyone born in Tunisia by default gets a citizenship. I am not very sure about this though but good for them if they do that.
Jordan is no exception and even jus sanguinis2 is not entirely practiced because as far as I know a Jordanian woman married to a non-Jordanian man can’t pass her nationality to her own children.
For countries that grant nationality on the grounds of jus soli I salute you and I tip my hat to you. You deserve all the respect and gratitude for your wisdom. You know when you grant your nationality to a new baby born he will consider you his home. He will love, respect, and defend you. On the other hand, I wonder how a country that does not consider a person who was born, grow up and lived in her soul to love her when she tells him you can live in my house but you are not my son. Meanwhile, I hope Jordan and Syria don’t go to war against each other otherwise I may end up fighting my Syrian nephews (my sister’s kids) in the name of nationalism.
1 jus soli: a rule that the citizenship of a child is determined by the place of its birth.
2 jus sanguinis: a rule that a child’s citizenship is determined by its parents’ citizenship.