I am a US citizen who has lived in Canada since 2004. My husband and daughter are Canadian citizens. Unlike the majority of RQ recipients I am white. Like the vast majority of RQ recipients, the CIC has given me no explanation or indication as to why they are withholding my citizenship indefinitely. In retrospect, I realize that I had many risk factors for receiving an RQ. I have worked only occasional freelance jobs since the birth of my daughter. I cross the border often to visit my parents in Maine with their youngest grandchild. I was off by a day on a couple of my trips to the US. I applied within days of meeting the residency requirement of 1095 days. Because my time on my previous student and work visas counted as half days, I had just 1097 days of physical presence at the time of my application.
But these factors don’t negate my right to citizenship. I have met the residency requirement. My life, family and work is in Canada. Misstating the day I left on a trip five years ago (Was it Tuesday? Or Wednesday?) is an honest and understandable mistake. It should not result in the indefinite withholding of my democratic rights.
I do not begrudge the CIC their right or even obligation to issue me a Residence Questionnaire. What I object to is their inability to process my response, and the responses of thousands of other applicants, in anything approaching a reasonable timeline. According to the recent ruling by Judge Rennie in the FSW mass backlog elimination case, the CIC has an obligation to process applications in a timely manner. We need to speak up for that right.