US Congress, Department of Homeland Security: Legalize stateless persons in the United States
The United States is home to estimated 4,000 stateless persons who live in limbo and have their human rights violated, and a lot of restrictions imposed on them since they are citizens of nowhere.
There are two very important documents that protect stateless persons, UN 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and UN 1961 Convention Related to the Reduction of Statelessness, and U.S. is not a signatory member of any of those.
Statelessness is crime against humanity and we have to do everything in our power to protect and prevent statelessness from happening.
Most people take passports for granted but stateless persons who consider “unwanted”, “unrecognized” in our society. We tend to believe that statelessness does not exist in our country because all media shifted their attention to undocumented immigrants without covering statelessness issue.
Domestically, we also promote statelessness by allowing US citizens to renounce their citizenship on voluntary basis even though they do not have any other citizenship or permanent residency from other nation. This should not be happening. This is not protection against statelessness but promotion of statelessness on voluntary basis.
This video was shot by UNHCR highlighting the issue of statelessness in the United States. I want to share my story with you as exactly how it had happened to me. On December 29, 2011 it will be one year since I got stuck in US territory of American Samoa and no actions were taken so far.
Just imagine yourself in the situation when you travel on vacation somewhere and were not allowed to return back to your home forever. Imagine not having citizenship and not being protected by any government; no consulate or embassy to run to and seek help or assistance because you are “nobody”.
There is a simple solution to legalize stateless persons in the United States, which is to join UN 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions.
Stateless US residents who spent 5 years living in the United States, registered with DHS, issued employment authorization cards, paid taxes, no criminals, fluent in English should automatically be granted "green card" permanent resident status. Those who spent 10 years or more living in the United States, should become naturalized US citizens.
Statelessness is not unsolvable problem. We should stop discriminating stateless people and provide them help and assistance, as the United States became their home and only country.
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