UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Month 99, 301 AP.

Utania "residents" protest denial of citizenship

Immigrants to Utania who were not born in Utania are denied Utanian citizenship despite possibly living here for fifty years, and they are angry, calling on the government to change the law.

If you were born in Armatirion, for example, and immigrated in 253ap, like Kjell Rimlari (75), at the age of 27, then lived in Utania for the next forty-eight years, holding a Guwimith Dependencies passport, you are not eligible for an Utanian passport. And Mr Rimlari is not happy.

"I've lived here all my life. I raised my children here. All of them are Utanian citizens, but I am not allowed to be, according to the government", protests Mr Rimlari. "I paid all my taxes over the years here, and worked for the people here." Mr Rimlari was hoping to return in the next year to the city of his birth, Tirion, but fears that without an Utanian passport, he may not be allowed back in the country.

"They're cracking down on residents here", says Mr Rimlari, "And there is a good chance I may not be allowed back into the country. I just think that stinks." Mr Rimlari has co-founded the Citizen's Rights League, a protest group dedicated to convincing the government to change the law to allow residents of a certain number of years to also qualify for the coveted "Uta-Decashi" status, which will provide him a passport as well as qualification for pensioner benefits if and when the federal government introduces them.

Mr Rimlari says that the government is more concerned with encouraging the estimated seven million Utani who live overseas to get an Utani passport. The Citizen's Rights League says that if the rule is relaxed to allow residents of twenty years or more to get citizenship, a mere 150,000 people will qualify.

"A drop in the ocean", the League says. Mr Rimlari joined a protest today in his home town of Vela Luka, and hopes that the government will change its mind before he passes away.

"It would be a shame to not be able to show my four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren around my home city", Mr Rimlari laments. "I want them to see my old working class haunts so they can see how well we've done in our new homeland."

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)