- Posted May 25, 2012 by
A man in limbo
A man has been stuck in American Samoa since January when United States immigration officials refused him entry after what was meant to be a four day New Year Eve holiday.
Mikhail Sebastian was born in Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and became stateless when the former Soviet Union collapsed.
The 39-year-old entered the US in 1995 at the age of 22 on a business visa and had lived and worked there until he traveled to American Samoa for a visit.
American Samoa correspondent Monica Miller says he was stopped from boarding the plane back to the States because US Immigration refused him entry, and says he?s been in limbo ever since.
?Everyday he checks into the attorney general?s office, and he goes into check emails and hangs out at the local McDonalds restaurant. People have been good to him, a family in Nu?uuli village has been housing him since January.?
Monica Miller says the case has been complicated by the fact that he made a one day trip to Western Samoa during his visit, which US immigration officials see as him deporting himself.
Mr Sebastian is pinning his hopes on an application for asylum in the United States.
Mikhail is not considered a national or citizen by any former republics of ex U.S.S.R. ( Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Because rules of those newly independent countries don't recognize person outside their country boarders when they became independent.
American Samoa is not under the jurisdiction of United States immigration law but defined as part of the United States. It is unorganized and unincorporated territory of the United States.
The UNHCR and U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified him as part of a vulnerable population because he is stateless. He must return to the United States so he will be present for his reopened immigration court proceedings.
Statelessness is a global phenomenon that currently affects as many as 12 million people worldwide. According to the statistics there are estimated 4,000 stateless people in the United States. New cases continue to arise every day as states struggle with the challenge of ensuring that everyone enjoys a nationality.