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Taranique - Now There’S Some Hope

Taranique Thurston

Taranique Thurston

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE government is working assiduously to ensure stateless teen Taranique Thurston is able to access life-saving medical treatment in the United States, The Tribune has beens told.

A senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained Taranique’s status presented a challenge as there was no formal position on how the government will deal with the potential hundreds of people in similar circumstances.

The official noted her case will likely be closely watched, as it could set a legal precedent.

Due to her mother’s naturalisation process, Taranique is currently registered in the Bahamas as a non-Bahamian born to a foreign mother and Bahamian father, who are unmarried.

Taranique was issued a certificate of identity on Friday; however, it was explained this document is only accepted by the US government under most extreme circumstances.

In response to questions placed by The Tribune, a US Embassy spokesperson said the embassy required a valid passport.

The spokesperson spoke generally, as the agency did not comment on specific visa cases for privacy reasons.

“We are very optimistic by tomorrow there will be some resolution,” the Bahamas government official said.

“She has a meeting with director of immigration in the morning which should bear some fruit. We are very concerned that she is able to get the necessary treatment. Her situation was her mother was not a citizen when she had her, which put her in a special category.”

The official continued: “The public should know that we’re working to fulfil those obligations very hard to ensure she gets the medical treatment that she can’t get in the Bahamas. Now we’re making it a priority and we’re also working with foreign American officials to make her case a special one.”

Article 7 of the Bahamas Constitution provides for persons born in the country to non-Bahamians to make an application at the age of 18; however, the Nationality Act allows the minister of immigration to use his discretion to consider applications.

According to the Haitian constitution (Article 11), “any person born of a Haitian father or Haitian mother who are themselves native-born Haitians and have never renounced their nationality possesses Haitian nationality at the time of birth.”

However, this entitlement is not extended to second or third generation descendants whose parents were not themselves native-born Haitians.

Bahamian born children of Haitian migrants are only Haitian citizens by law if their parents were born in Haiti, and have not renounced their citizenship, and can prove they hold citizenship, according to a 2010 academic paper by Kristy Belton, recipient of UNHCR’s 2015 Award for Best Doctoral Research on Statelessness.

Dr Belton posits that children become de-facto stateless, “when the parent is of Haitian descent, but is not a “native-born” Haitian, or is undocumented or cannot prove possession of Haitian citizenship.

She further outlined in the paper that the official narrative espoused by government officials that the phenomenon was not due to Bahamian law, and that children born in the Bahamas of Haitian parentage had the right to a Haitian passport - was an “unfounded assumption”.

It continued: “One cannot simply go into the Haitian Embassy in The Bahamas and acquire identifying documents because one “sounds” or “looks” Haitian. One must be able to prove that he or she is a native-born Haitian and this is often very difficult to do when a person does not possess the relevant identifying documents.

The paper stated: “Moreover, Bahamian citizenship and naturalisation law, and the Bahamas’ lack of accession to the 1961 statelessness convention, exacerbates the vulnerable position of these children.”

As reported previously, 15-year-old Taranique needs treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida for the fluid collecting in her brain.

The ordeal has taken a significant toll on Taranique and her mother, who described the past two weeks as an emotional rollercoaster.

Referring to Taranique’s certificate of identity, Taranique’s mother Ginette Caty said: “They still put the same thing on it. If the document say Commonwealth of the Bahamas for nationality, Bahamian got to be there, how could you put something else there? How can you put Haitian? They still ain’t gonna recognize this, only thing is this a grey one and look more like a new model, but what’s the difference?

 “I ask my girl how she feel and she put her head down and said I just want to live, that’s all right now. And tears come out of my eyes, I said you’re going to live you know, you gonna be a testimony.”

For herself, Taranique said she has reduced her use of social media due to negative comments. She said she felt like a “dog”, but was resolute in her determination to remain positive about finally getting treatment.

“I just want to get my surgery, so I can stop having headaches,” she said. “…I want to be an accountant”.

Comments

joeblow 3 months, 1 week ago

This child is NOT stateless she has irresponsible, entitled parents!

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geostorm 3 months, 1 week ago

You are correct Joe Blow! Anyway, I'm glad they issued a Certificate of Identity. Hopefully the US will allow her to travel with it given her health situation. As for her status as a Bahamian, she will need to tow the line like everyone else in her position. Citizenship should not be issued just because she has a special medical need. If that is the case, more people will try to claim critical health issues to get citizenship fast tracked.

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BahamaRed 3 months, 1 week ago

Exactly...her situation was made such by a parent who was looking for status in another country. Her mother was a native-born Haitian and therefore according to this article she was entitled to Haitian citizenship. That being said her daughter should have also received citizenship based on the law. But the mom didn't do her due diligence and did this child a disservice and now begging and pleading for the government to fix a situation brought about by ignorance and a sense of entitlement.

Total bs... smh

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hpallas 3 months, 1 week ago

stop the foolishness. Her mother was born right in the Bahamas. She was not "looking for status in another country."

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licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

IT IS YOU WHO NEED TO STOP YA DUMBNESS. . .SHE WAS BORN OF ILLEGAL HAITIAN PARENTS. . .A CITIZEN OF HAITI ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 11 IN THE HAITIAN CONSTITUTION!! SHE HAD NO STATUS IN THE BAHAMAS. . .OUTSIDE OF HER NATIVE LAND HAITI. . .SHE WAS LOOKING FOR STATUS INSIDE ANOTHER MAN'S LAND!! ARTICLE 7 OF BAHAMAS CONSTITUTION GIVE HER NO LOCUS SOLI RIGHT TO CITIZENSHIP IN THE BAHAMAS. . .SO WHERE YOU GET YA INFORMATION FROM??

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hpallas 3 months ago

Nope. The Bahamas makes no distinction between whether your parents are documented or undocumented immigrants for the question of whether you gain citizenship. As long as you are born in the Bahamas and apply between 18 and 21, your application will be considered by Cabinet and Cabinet/ the Minister responsible decides whether you can get citizenship. They can deny it, but they are not bound to deny it even if the parents immigrated illegally. Know your facts. That is why Miss Ginette Caty, Taranique's mother was granted Bahamian citizenship after she applied. You have no clue what you are talking about. The Bahamas does not give automatic jus soli citizenship, but it does consider that all who are born here have a right to apply for citizenship..

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 1 week ago

There are dozens of Bahamian children who desperately need but cannot afford costly medical treatment abroad. Apparently this girl's mother has access to significant financial resources because even one day of treatment for her type of illness at Jackson Memorial Hospital in South Florida costs thousands of dollars. Perhaps QC Smith has arranged for her medical costs to be paid by one of the many international non-profit agencies he represents. Let's just hope the Bahamas government has not been conned into paying the medical costs when there are so many Bahamian children in a very similar predicament, i.e. facing life threatening medical conditions with no means to access medical care in the U.S.

I'm surprised we do not have a neurosurgeon on staff or with practice privileges at either PMH or Doctor's Hospital, who is capable of surgically treating an excess buildup of fluid around (or in) the brain. This is not that infrequent a neurological problem; in fact it's quite common for car crash victims who suffer a serious head injury.

The Government of Haiti is directly responsible, through its own intolerant and inflexible citizenship laws, for encouraging the illegal immigrant problem that has plagued the Bahamas for decades. Illegal Haitian immigrants in the Bahamas, the U.S. and Canada annually send hundreds and hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to their families back home in Haiti. This has become a major source of hard currency for the economy of Haiti which the Government of Haiti now fully recognizes and promotes by playing its citizenship and immigration laws off against those of countries like ours. In addition, from the Government of Haiti's point of view, the more impoverished Haitians who flee Haiti, and receive social welfare assistance on the backs of taxpayers in other countries, all the better.

One thing is for sure, if Minnis as PM, Symonette as our Minister of Immigration, and Carl Bethel as our Attorney General, should all foolishly decide to somehow grant this girl Bahamian citizenship, QC Smith will immediately jump on it as a legal case and precedent for the grant of Bahamian citizenship to thousands of other illegal immigrants who will quickly claim they are in pretty much the same predicament and should not be unfairly disenfranchised. Minnis, Symonette and Bethel had better appreciate that they are skating on very thin ice in dealing with this matter which has been highly publicized and sensationalized as a 'sob' story by media outlets like The Tribune to increase their print circulation and/or online viewership. It is the Government of Haiti and not the Government of the Bahamas that has primary responsibility for this girl's citizenship/immigration dilemma.

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TalRussell 3 months, 1 week ago

Even if Comrade senior red shirts government official,spokes on condition of anonymity - he/she brought Smiley face of Hope to a teen and her mommy.

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="None">

by TalRussell

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hpallas 3 months, 1 week ago

You all have not been following this case or reading, nor do you know the law: The mother of the child was born in the Bahamas. She received naturalisation only by applying for citizenship at 18. That citizenship was not granted by the Bahamian government until 2013. Her children--and the sick child in question-- were born in the interim. Haitian constitution says that non-native born Haitians like Ms Caty do NOT transmit citizenship to their own children. Therefore this child is stateless until at least 18, because the parents are unmarried and her Bahamian father cannot transmit citizenship based on our law. So the accomodation must come from the Bahamian government. The earlier Tribune articles spell all this out.

"Ms Caty, born in The Bahamas to two non-Bahamian parents, says she applied for citizenship in 2000. However, she was not granted status for more than a decade – by which time she had already given birth to her three daughters.

She claimed that prior to her naturalisation, she also applied for status for each of her children, but said officials informed her that under the law, her daughters, like her, would have to wait until the age of 18 to apply for citizenship."

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 1 week ago

Believe me when I say we Bahamians know all there is to know about this matter.

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hpallas 3 months ago

Yes, and I'm Bahamian, so I definitely know....

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licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

Stick to what you know there fella! You are a poor representation for Haitian intellectuals. . .constitutions have their stipulations. . .you go by them. . .not they go by what you feel they should. . .that make you reactive and non represented by law. . .the law is blind. . .legislative or common laws. . .they are hard and cold. . .you are mushy, biased, heated and wrong!! The Supreme court nor the Privy council can change our constitution. . .nor can you!! The constitution will not change for you nor your country man. . .!! She did not meet the deadlines. . .she had no status.

That's what the US. Immigration told a waiting person for Green Card after applying 15 years. . .we reach you when we get to you. . .leave the USA and return to your country until we call for you!! You let her don't meet all requirements set down by US immigration. . .she will never be allowed to travel from here to there!!

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hpallas 3 months ago

What the hell are you talking about? @licks2? The mother met the deadlines...which is why she has a Bahamian passport now. Miss Ginette Caty, Taranique's mother, was born in the Bahamas to non Bahamian parents. She had the right to the citizenship of her parents AND the right to apply for Bahamian citizenship, which she did according to the rules and was granted. Taranique, who has a Bahamian father, not married to Miss Ginette Caty, was born before the Bahamian citizenship was granted to her mother. Even though the mother was Haitian at the time of the child's birth, because she was not a native born Haitian she could not transmit citizenship to her child. She is not the same as native-born Haitians who refuse to go and register her child with the Haitian embassy. That is a different case. The child Taranique was also not able to access the Bahamian citizenship of her father because mother and father were not married. If we had changed the constitution in the last referendum like we should have he would have been able to give his citizenship along with his name to his own child and we would not have this problem. Every Bahamian man should have an interest in this case-- as he is not able to pass on citizenship to all his children automatically.

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hpallas 3 months, 1 week ago

Taranique is stateless. Her mother, Ginette Caty, was born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents and applied for citizenship as was proper in 2000. She was not naturalized until 2013-- government dragging its feet with the backlog of citizenship applications. In the meantime, her children were born out of wedlock with a Bahamian man.

Haiti's constitution only allows native-born Haitians to pass on citizenship, so Taranique was not entitled to a Haitian passport at birth. And she can only apply for Bahamian citizenship at 18 since her father cannot pass on his citizenship. She is truly stateless then, because Bahamian law has gender discrimination built into it.

Quote from the Tribune below:

"Ms Caty, born in The Bahamas to two non-Bahamian parents, says she applied for citizenship in 2000. However, she was not granted status for more than a decade – by which time she had already given birth to her three daughters.

She claimed that prior to her naturalisation, she also applied for status for each of her children, but said officials informed her that under the law, her daughters, like her, would have to wait until the age of 18 to apply for citizenship."

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joeblow 3 months, 1 week ago

The constitution is based on the rule of law. The criterion in it for applying for citizenship after 18 is stated for LEGAL residents who have their children here. If the children of legal and illegal residents have the same right why does the law make it clear who qualifies? The problem is the children of illegal immigrants have been ALLOWED illegally, to apply for citizenship at 18 which is not right IN LAW. Because the government is too lazy to enforce the law we have situations like this on our hands!!!

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hpallas 3 months ago

There is NO language in the constitution that discriminates between legal and illegal immigrants when it comes to application for citizenship. That would have to be inserted by referendum. The minister/Cabinet can apply whatever criteria they want to decide whether to award citizenship, but the constitution does NOT forbid the person born here from applying for or gaining citizenship based on the legal status of the parents. Show me the language that stipulates that the applicant's parents MUST be legal residents! You cannot find it. It is in the discretion of the Minister/Cabinet. It would require an constitutional amendment to MANDATE it. That is why Branville McCartney promised a referendum on the matter when the DNA was first running.

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Islangal1 3 months, 1 week ago

All I can say is today for me tomorrow for you! Bahamians seem to have a natural born hatred for Haitian. Bahamians who fly to America to have children just so that child could get automatic citizen and reap the rewards of being an American.

I hope I live to see the day when the shoe is on the other foot!

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tetelestai 3 months, 1 week ago

Not true at all, Islangal1! Please stop making this about whether Bahamians "like" or "dislike" Haitians. That is not the issue. The issue, in this case, is that the beautiful young lady is not stateless. She is a Haitian citizen and can apply for and receive a Haitian passport at any time. But, of course, she wants a Bahamian passport and is trying to play the sympathy card -enabled dastardly by the Tribune, I might add- to acquire one. Bahamians see through this charade and are merely indicating that, in this case, there is no issue with her 'statehood'. Her parents broke the law to enter this country and are now shamefully trying to coerce the government into automatically providing their daughter with something she is not entitled to by law.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 1 week ago

Islangal1: You have a Haitian mentality of entitlement about you which naturally comes at the expense of Bahamians. We Bahamians have done more than enough for the Haitian people over four decades than just about any other nation on this planet......and certainly a helluva lot more than their own country (Haiti) has done for them!

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licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

We go legally. . .buzz word is legally!! If Haitians come here legally and abide by OUR rule and regulations. . .they are welcome. . .many of them are here legally. . .and are not being hassled! Two of the biggest mouthed one are here legally. . .Luby Georges and Fred Smith. . .with no problems. . .Haitians are everywhere in our schools, hospitals, courts, police, defense force, immigration, all government services etc. Plenty Bahamians are married to them. . . MY GRATE GRAND PAR WAS HAITIAN ON MY FATHER SIDE AND MY GRATE GRAND MOTHER WAS HAITIAN ON MY MOTHER SIDE!

SO YOU DON'T START TALKING NONSENSE ABOUT BAHAMIANS DON'T LIKE HAITIANS!! HAITIANS NEED TO GET THEIR ACTS TOGETHER LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE AND STOP ACTING THE MINDLESS SLAVE-LIKE . . .PLAYING LIKE THEY CAN'T UNDERSTAND SENSE!!!!

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DEDDIE 3 months, 1 week ago

Reading comprehension. Her grandmother is native born. Her mother is not. Sometimes it is painful to read these blogs.

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bogart 3 months, 1 week ago

HAPPY DIS CHILD GETS ROUTE TO GETS MEDICAL ATTENTION...

@islandhal.....NOW CUT DA CRAP ON "Bahamians seems to have a natural born hatred for Haitian"....you from ALCATRAZ ...island HEH.....suk teet.?????....even so ol time story go dat dem prisoners Anglin ?? boys who did breaks out from Alcatraz ....dey likes the Bahamas so much dat they did make there way to live back in the bushes someahere back a Gold rock creek ya know. You should try to be more likes dem an appreciate what it is to live in da Bahamas.....

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CatIslandBoy 3 months, 1 week ago

I have to assume that either many of you bloggers are just downright ignorant (which is consistent with a D average mentality), or you are choosing to ignore facts. The young girl, Taranique, does not qualify for Haitian citizenship, plain and simple. No matter how some of you may try to twist the facts, her mother was not born in Haiti, and never held Haitian citizenship. So, how could this young lady even be considered a "natural-born" Haitian citizen?

Like many well-meaning Bahamians, I do not like to see my beloved country over-run by illegal immigrants of any nationality. We need to control our borders and up our efforts to prosecute employers who take advantage of their cheap labour. But, this not mean we should throw common sense out of the window when dealing with other human beings. Come on Christian Natiion, where are your souls? Or that only matters on Sundays?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 1 week ago

You conveniently ignore the fact that her mother illegally entered the Bahamas and heaven knows how she ended up with a Bahamian passport. As for the Christian card you wish to play....well, all I can say is that we are a nation of too many Christians of the wrong kind. Tell me you're a Christian and I immediately relegate you to the heap of Christian crooks we have in our country today...all of whom like to play that Christian card!

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hpallas 3 months ago

Read Bahamas, read! The mother WAS BORN in the Bahamas. That is not illegal entry. When you are born in a country, no matter how your parents enter, you yourself are not breaking any laws, nor are you an undocumented immigrant--you neither overstayed, nor entered the borders illegally. She was entitled to apply for a Bahamian passport because she was born here, applied at 18 and our government, which has absolute say on the matter, decided, after years of processing, she should get Bahamian citizenship.

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licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

You can't understand your own natal land constitution? Article 11 says if a person is born to Haitian parents. . .who are native born Haitian. . .he she is Haitian at birth! But according to you. . .no non- native born person of Haitian heritage can pass on lineage. . .then that means that no body born outside of Hatia to Haitian parents is Haitian! See how much sense you are making? None what soever. . .the least educated world citizen will tell you that's not true!

A person born to two native born Haitian parents. . .(the mother) . . . whom were both born in Haiti ( Article 11 of Haitian constitution) . . . hence according to A11 her offspring is Haitian. . .not stateless insists UNHRC/ARMNASTY/OXFARM/WORLD COURT ETC.

That is the reason why nobody outside of Rights Bahamas "een on yall run". . .everybody done told yall that yinna don't qualify for stateless or refugees. IF YOU HAVE ALL THE EVIDENCE AND SUPPORT OF WORLD ORGANIZATIONS (IN LAW THAT IS. . .NOT JUST TALK) then take ya case to the World Court. . . They too een on yall run. . .not even lifting a finger to help yinna. . .NOT A FINGER!!

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BahamaRed 3 months, 1 week ago

Well it would seem her grandparents - who were born in Haiti (cause someone had to be born in Haiti) - erred by illegally coming to the Bahamas, and then starting this train of illegal bullcrap by not getting Taranique's mom Haitian status, that she then could pass on.

Seems to be a long line of illegal mess that will further open the floodgates for more Haitians to claim Bahamian citizenship rights.

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licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

Article 11 of the Haitian Constitution makes that passing on automatic. . .she did not need to apply for it with the Haitian embassy. NATIONAL LAWS AND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS MAKE THEM STATELESS OR NOT. . .THEY DON'T HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF DOING SO FOR THEMSELVES!

That flood gates will open if the PC rules that Article 7 of OUR constitution is actually protecting "illegals" (locus soli) rights at birth! ONLY TWO NATIONS ON EARTH HAS THAT RIGHT. . .USA AND CANADA. . .NOT EVEN HAITI!! THEY WILL NEVER GO TO THE PC WITH THAT QUESTION. . .THEY ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT ONE. . .

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TheMadHatter 3 months, 1 week ago

"However, she was not granted status for more than a decade – by which time she had already given birth to her three daughters."

...and since then how many has she had? Probably lost count.

Don't worry about how to support children. The government and the United Nations Cry Baby Council will foot all the bills.

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licks2 3 months, 1 week ago

Here is a poor stateless Haitian girl who needs an operation to save her life. . .RB/FS and others raising hell about her status. . .yet none will help with the bill. . .

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bogart 3 months, 1 week ago

The ......CRUX....of the illegal dilemna.....lies in Bahamian govt Ministry of Education exasberating fostering...encouraging....aiding....abbetting.....da situation with dere policy of FREE EDUCATION TO ALL CHILDREN .....allegedly by Govt Education policies where it is wrong to seek children legal citizen nationality status.......of the children their parents and or their guardians....even home addresses......Next is the inability for authorities and being complicit in the allowing the illegal structures and formation of illegally mini cities to be built.providing shelters .............Next is the lax authorities seeking out illegals able to live undocumented for decades employed providong, growing families............Next is the financial assistance provided by govt by way of uniforns, free lunches and other assistanve...........These BENEFITS and combination are clear inducement....honey....encouragements...paid for by da pore for the bendfit of the elites....wealthy...dere gardeners...,maids....workers...to create ankor babies.......In these times of austerity by Bahamians ..an fierce determination an political awareness..to protect our borders....fight corruption....it is time the Government review this policy of free education for undocumented migrants....expecting an being granted automatic citizenship ..........This country or no other country can expect to function with the large amounts of undocumented persons within its borders......w.hether adults or children ........whose parents guardians do not provide with legal nationality status.......

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