Federal authorities denies teenage browsing prodigy's bid for Canadian citizenship

The 16-year-old Brooks was born in Texas and grew up in Hawaii however has Canadian ties by means of her father Jeff, who’s a twin American-Canadian citizen.

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Teenage browsing prodigy Erin Brooks has had her bid for Canadian citizenship turned down by the federal authorities.

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The 16-year-old Brooks was born in Texas and grew up in Hawaii however has Canadian ties by means of her American-born father Jeff, who’s a twin American-Canadian citizen, and her grandfather who was born and raised in Montreal.

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Brooks had hoped to safe her citizenship and characterize Canada at subsequent yr’s Paris Olympics. However the ongoing SNAFU means she has needed to miss the Pan American Video games, which opened Friday in Chile and affords the winner an Olympic berth.

The final alternative to qualify for the Olympics is on the ISA World Championships in Puerto Rico in February.

Brooks is taken into account by many a favorite to earn a medal on the Olympics because of the heavy left-hand barrel circumstances at Teahupo’o in Tahiti, the place the Olympic browsing occasion is being held subsequent yr.

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She gained a silver medal on the ISA World Browsing Video games in El Salvador in June and gold on the ISA World Junior Championships in June 2022.

Canada’s citizenship legal guidelines are complicated, with amendments altering the principles in 2009 and 2015. However primarily Invoice C-37 in 2009 ended the extension of citizenship to second-generations born overseas.

In a letter explaining its determination to not grant a “discretionary grant of citizenship,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says Brooks didn’t meet the necessities.

“The applying is refused on the idea that the applicant isn’t stateless, has not skilled particular or uncommon hardship or offered companies of an distinctive worth to Canada which warrants a discretionary grant of Canadian citizenship,” the letter acknowledged.

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Surf Canada says Jeff Brooks intends to attraction the choice to Federal Court docket.

“She desires to surf (for Canada) as a result of she desires to characterize her household and her heritage,” Jeff mentioned in an interview this week previous to the federal government’s determination. “And it’s simply been an uphill battle … However I’m proud that she’s sticking to her weapons and he or she desires to undergo the entire course of and provides it every little thing she has.

“We’ve talked about it. If it doesn’t work out and he or she does must stroll away at some point from Canada, she will do it together with her head held excessive realizing she gave it every little thing she had and he or she tried her finest to characterize the nation she feels essentially the most tied to.”

The choice is a blow to each the Brooks household, which has already endured rather a lot.

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Their dwelling in Lahaina on Maui burned down throughout the latest wildfires and Brooks’s mom is battling most cancers. The household now calls Tofino, B.C., dwelling when not on the highway 9 to 10 months a yr with Erin.

“Erin’s had plenty of issues to take care of clearly,” Jeff mentioned. “This (citizenship) is one which we’ve no management over, similar to the most cancers or the fireplace. Erin and I talked about it and mentioned let’s simply give attention to the issues we are able to management, which is he browsing and her coaching and retaining a constructive mindset and being open to the result it doesn’t matter what it’s.”

“If it doesn’t get achieved in time, then we’re simply going to have to take a seat again and re-evaluate the place we’re without delay this Olympic cycle passes,” he added. “It could positively be an enormous disappointment to overlook out on the prospect of the Olympics, particularly after working so laborious. I imply she’s the No. 2-seeded worldwide surfer proper now in the USA.

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“Lacking out on that chance as a 16-year-old could be fairly devastating. However on the identical level, she is aware of she has a protracted profession forward of her.”

Lionel Conacher, president of Surf Canada, calls Erin “a generational expertise” who could be a “great addition to Group Canada.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee has additionally backed Erin’s bid for citizenship. COC CEO David Shoemaker mentioned Erin has demonstrated “her honest dedication to compete for Canada and to be Canadian.”

“This isn’t a made-up factor,” he mentioned in an interview this week. “She’s been representing Canada on the world stage, profitable championships. Her grandparents are Canadian. Her father is a twin citizen. And since their dwelling within the U.S. burned to the bottom, they’ve been calling Tofino dwelling. So we’d prefer to see this occur.”

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In March 2022, Browsing Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee petitioned the Worldwide Browsing Affiliation (ISA) to permit Erin to compete for Canada as her citizenship utility had been filed, however not accomplished.

The ISA granted the request however modified its thoughts in June of this yr, saying “this determination was taken incorrectly and never in accordance with the relevant ISA guidelines.”

The ISA suspended Erin’s eligibility to compete for Canada, saying it might re-evaluate the choice if “proof of citizenship with a verified doc from the Canadian authorities, was offered.

That stops Erin from competing on the Pan Am Video games and the ISA World Championships. She has continued to compete within the World Surf League’s Qualifying Collection.

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Erin has been contacted by different international locations concerned about her skills.

“She has had some very profitable affords from different international locations that she hasn’t even actually taken a have a look at as a result of she desires to characterize Canada,” mentioned Jeff. “I feel the one manner we’d have a look at that’s if the door to Canada was fully closed with some finality.”

He declined to say which international locations had reached out.

However Erin’s grandmother, on her mom’s aspect, is a German citizen and there are additionally Italian ties. Jeff’s aspect of the household additionally has Irish bloodlines.

“There are positively international locations which are . And a few international locations, on this Olympic day and age, that we don’t even actually have any ties to have reached out providing citizenship in return for becoming a member of their crew,” he mentioned.

Canada did not qualify a surfer for the Tokyo Olympics, the place browsing made its debut on the video games.

Canadian Cody Younger did get a last-minute call-up to the Tokyo video games because of a COVID-related opening. However the Hawaii-based athlete wasn’t capable of get there in time because of pandemic-related journey logistics.

Observe ↕NeilMDavidson on X platform, previously referred to as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 20, 2023

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