ADVOCACY & COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FOR STATELESS PEOPLE
About United Stateless
United Stateless is a national organization led by stateless people whose mission is to build and inspire community among those affected by statelessness, and to advocate for their human rights.
We do this by:
Connecting, encouraging, and empowering a community of stateless people in the U.S.
Raising awareness of statelessness issues in the U.S. as well as globally, and educating the community/public/stakeholders about the issue of statelessness.
Advocating for the human rights of stateless people and changes to domestic laws to introduce a path to citizenship for the stateless in the U.S.
We understand that the problem of statelessness is being continuously ignored by the U.S. government, and this is largely due to the fact that there is very little known about stateless persons in the U.S.
As constituents, we have been silent, living in the shadows, unable to participate in elections, and often too afraid to share our stories.
We are changing this NOW, for we DO have a human right - as defined in Article 15(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"Everyone has the right to a nationality".
Based on this fact we absolutely believe that the U.S Government must immediately take significant steps to reform current domestic laws based on United Nations recommendations:
1. Establishment of stateless status determination procedures.
2. Creation of a process to provide a path to U.S. Citizenship for all stateless people who qualify and who reside in the U.S., regardless of immigration status.
3. Provide protections from detention and a temporary status with work authorization to all stateless people while their status is being resolved.
4. Ascension to both United Nations Conventions:
- United Nations Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons (1954)
- United Nations Convention on the reduction on Statelessness (1961);
To achieve these goals, United Stateless is working to connect stateless people in the US with each other and with our program. Our goals include networking with NGOs, global and domestic, reaching out to the government, to media, to immigration law practitioners and others to raise awareness of statelessness in the US.
... a world in which everyone's human right to Nationality is respected and upheld.
United Stateless was created by stateless people who reside in the U.S. (read our stories here) and understand the situation first-hand.
Since no legal framework currently exists in the U.S. to address statelessness, the stateless find themselves living in limbo, isolated, vulnerable to detention, likely experiencing severe depression, as well as a host of problems that arise from lack of identification documents.
Unlike undocumented immigrants, stateless persons can not usually be deported, since no country claims them as its citizens.
Most of us have been here for many years. We are people who should be, but are not protected by international law. Unfortunately U.S. law does not provide such protection. This situation leads to basic human rights violations that we are experiencing every single day of our lives.
United Stateless started as a simple conversation between several stateless persons who found each other through social media or by tracking a few and far-between newspaper articles about individual cases. We began by comparing notes, and soon knew that we had something powerful in common - our stories.
A stateless life is one of terrible isolation, as the feeling of non-belonging is pervasive.
We have united to help each other through a seemingly insurmountable challenge, and perhaps in the process will be able to help many others.
The United States is a country that has no legal framework for the Stateless. We are essentially legal ghosts, not recognized and non-existent. Yet we are here, and we are not alone. We believe that through our unified effort our human voices will be heard, and our plight will be recognized in time.
We welcome you to join us on our journey. Statelessness is a lonely place to be, but united, we are empowered, and hopeful change is possible, and we someday will gain our rightful place in the world.
American non-profit organizations who focus on human rights have not yet made our issue a priority. There is a good reason for this: American stateless people have never been organized into one community.
In the past, each case has been addressed individually.
No one even knows how many of us are present here. No one knows how many stateless people become victims of crimes and do not find protection. We hope that through our work we will be able to gain some insight into the following questions:
How many families were separated with no chance of reunion?
How many stateless people in the United States can not obtain proper healthcare because of their statelessness?
How does statelessness affect their mental and physical health?
How many suicide cases do we have
among stateless people in America?
How many stateless people are there who are homeless?
How many stateless persons are lingering in detention?