By now, most are aware of the case of 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim, who is imprisoned in Sudan for refusing to denounce her Christian faith and who is currently undergoing an appeals hearing. “Daniel Wani, Ibrahim’s husband, was notified on Thursday that the appeals court is deliberating the case. If the sentence is not overturned, Ibrahim will be subjected to 100 lashes and hanged. Only the appeals court will be able to overturn the ruling, Wani said, despite statements from the Sudanese government that Ibrahim would be freed.”
Last week, Daniel Wani signed a Privacy Act waiver, and the State Department confirmed for the first time that he was a U.S. citizen. However the department has not yet acknowledged that his children are also citizens. As I previously reported, Wani has claimed that The State Department will not recognize his children as U. S. citizens until DNA testing has been performed to ascertain whether Wani is truly the father of the children.
From the Daily Mail:
“At first the couple dismissed the allegations against them as trivial, but when the case grew more serious Mr Wani went to the American Embassy in Khartoum for help.
‘I thought this would be the one place which would help me, but they told me they didn’t have time to do anything,’ Mr Wani said. ‘I was upset because now that I am American citizen I thought they would help me.
‘I was threatened. They said “well your wife isn’t American, so we can’t help”. I felt disgusted. My home is in America and still they won’t help. It’s getting uglier and it’s not going in the right direction.’
Mr Wani said the State Department asked him to provide DNA evidence proving that Martin was his biological son. He added: ‘I have provided wedding documents and the baby’s birth certificate, but this is clearly not enough. It’s very upsetting that they don’t believe me.”
At a recent State Department press briefing, when asked by a reporter whether the quotes from Wani were accurate, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki answered, “Well, there are certain requirements that I just referenced to you that have long been the case, and they’re available …on the INA website. U.S. regulation authorizes the Department to request whatever additional evidence it may need to establish the U.S. citizenship. Genetic testing is a useful tool for verifying a biological relationship.”
Am I missing something?
The Immigration and Nationality Act says: “The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth: …a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States … of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.
According to reports, “Daniel Wani emigrated from Sudan to New Hampshire in 1998 and in 2005, he was naturalized as a U.S. citizen. In December 2011, he reportedly married Meriam Ibrahim at a church in Khartoum, Sudan. Daniel and Meriam’s son, Martin, was reportedly born the next year and their baby girl was recently born.”
Under U.S. law, there is a presumption that children born during a marriage are in fact the children of both the mother and father. Why then is the State Department reluctant to classify the children as U.S. citizens without genetic testing, according to Wani’s statements?
From the Official Website of The Department of Homeland Security:
B. Child Born in Wedlock
3. Child of U.S. Citizen Parent and Foreign National Parent
A child born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions acquires citizenship at birth if at the time of birth:
One parent is a foreign national and the other parent is a U.S. citizen; and
The U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States for at least 5 years, including at least 2 years after 14 years of age.
Meriam and Wani are married, the children, Martin and Maya both born during their marriage, are the father’s children, and therefore his U.S. citizenship passes to them. It would seem that there should be no question as to whether the children meet the criteria for citizenship–without genetic testing.
Thankfully, The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resolution “condemning the death sentence against Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese Christian woman accused of apostasy.”
According to ACLJ, “it calls attention to Sudan’s appalling degradation of human rights, its long record of abuse of religious liberty, and brutal implementation of Shariah law. The resolution also notes that even Sudan’s own Constitution, as well as numerous international treaties it has willing bound itself to, protects the “religious rights to worship or assemble in connection with any religion or belief.”
The Senate’s demand is simple; it “condemns the charge of apostasy and death sentence of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and calls for immediate and unconditional release of her and her children.
It also urges the Obama Administration and the State Department to take action in this case urging their freedom.”
I would also like to urge, for what it’s worth, the Obama Administration and the State Department to recognize Martin and Maya as Daniel Wani’s biological children, therefore; American citizens.
Add your name at BeHeardProject.com and fight to #SaveMeriam.