- Posted July 7, 2012 by
Immigration USA. Stateless and not forgotten.
As population in the United States grows along with that new cases of statelessness rises every day. Current U.S. law does not provide stateless people with any legal status. Stateless persons become refugees and asylum seekers. When one door shuts on your face the other will open. If you are stateless in the US and cannot legalize your status due to the absence of statelessness law we should claim asylum on the basis of refugee as what leads stateless persons to eventually become.
Stateless persons in the United States have been excluded from effective international human rights protection. Stateless persons bring claims relating to alleged abuses suffered as a consequence of their lack of nationality. Avoidance of statelessness should be one of the main concerns of the United States Department of States in the field of nationality.
We must to do anything we can in our power (and, YES, we can) to emphasize the importance of the universal instruments for the protection of stateless persons. Stateless is a condition. The biggest problem stateless people face in the United States is not being recognized by a place you truly believe you belong to (those who spent more than 10 years in legal limbo on US soil), whether you are not recognized by the State or by the authorities. Many factors and obstacles they found themselves in are out of their control.
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Alexander Aleinikoff once stated that "statelessness is a silent denial of rights", "Imagine the feeling of having no country you belong to".
It was not their fault that most of the stateless persons have been stripped of something central to their identity-citizenship, and lost the link between individual and the state.
Most people became stateless like myself because of the nationality laws of the former republics of ex-USSR and ex-Yugoslavia changed while they were in the United States, such that those newly independent countries that no longer recognize them as nationals or citizens. But majority of their life they spent outside of their former countries (like here in US) where they established long-term residency by obeying the law of the country, paying all applicable taxes and never been envolved in any criminal activities.
Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) stated: "America resettles more refugees and grants asylum to more people than any country in the world. Given this tradition we must also take action to solve the problem of statelessness. American must lead by example".
Statelesness is like "legal ghosts" that need to be brought out of the shadows if we as nation will follow the example of other nations and sign and ratify the two primary universal instruments of the United Nations Conventions on statelessness, 1954 Convention Related to the Status of Stateless Persons and 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Nationality and citizenship is the essential foundation of person's legal identity. it is your right to have rights. To be recognized as national or citizen is necessary in order to live a decent human life, and stop detaining and persecuting those innocent people, and use tax payers money to keep them in detention center for 6 month or longer and sometimes indefinitely. It is estimated that US government spends around $300.00 per person per day by holding them in detention center.
Statelessness is a problem of global dimension. Stateless people are more vulnerable to violence and other rights violation. Everyone, regardless of their legal status has a right to fundamental conditions of human decency. We need to get existing institutions such as United States Department of States, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security and UNHCR to act more effectively on behalf of the stateless persons and long-term resident of the United States.
We should grant legal status. nationality or citizenship to stateless persons by taking into consideration such factor as the relationship a person has established with the United States through long-term residency.
If those stateless persons of former and now not existing countries denied nationality because the governments decided to change their nationality laws by marginalizing those individuals based on some political or discriminatory movement, does not mean that we, as safe and democratic state that globally concern about human rights violation abroad should follow the steps of those countries, and ignore the plight of those stateless people with no criminal background and with long-term residency in the United States. Disintegration of former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and formation of new sovereign countries left thousands of people stateless in the United States who continue to live and work here, obey the law, pay taxes, stay out of trouble, report periodically to immigration authorities but unable to enjoy the freedom of travel.
I am asking the United States Government not to ignore the United Nations Convention of 1954 and 1961 and put all efforts to bring those Conventions live in the United States to help those stateless persons whose basic human rights taken away from them. The Convention of 1954 seeks to improve the status of stateless persons and helps ensure that stateless persons enjoy fundamental rights and freedom without discrimination. It urges states and members of the United Nations to facilitate their assimilation and naturalization.
By legalizing stateless people in the United States we should take into account those persons who already have strong connection with the United States, long-term residency who do not have any chance of acquiring a nationality elsewhere. We should either grant them permanent resident status or US National status as enjoyed by people of American Samoa and Swains Island.
Stateless US resident for 16 years,