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Areas Of Research Needed

Academia: Graduate Level

We would love to have research done by undergraduates and recommend looking at the research ideas listed under the other categories here and scaling it down to fit your project and timeline.


  • Economic costs of  keeping people stateless and preventing them from a pathway to citizenship in the US. i.e., How much does it cost to detain stateless people in the US, in the past, current, future? How do you quantify lost human capital, impact on health systems, lost wages and economic productivity of family unit, etc.)

Sociology / Social Sciences

  • Mapping/statistics/demographics of stateless populations in the US

    • How many stateless live in each state, city, county? Mapping those populations by age, gender, country of origin, etc.

  • US political and public perceptions around immigration, citizenship, nationality, identify - and related impacts on progress for stateless people in the US.


  • How to frame the discourse on statelessness/citizenship in best possible way to achieve change, in light of current climate in the US?

Public health / Psychology

  • Public health impacts of statelessness (overlap and distinctions from undocumented immigrants, perhaps, as well)

  • Mental health impacts of statelessness and how to improve mental health of the stateless

  • Are homebirths/doulas/midwives properly educated in the importance of birth registration? What are best practices to prevent and reduce risk of birth registration issues?


  • How is citizenship taught in schools? How can curriculum be improved to teach the fuller scope of citizenship and statelessness?

  • Designing effective education around statelessness

Digital Media / Communications / Messaging

  • Successful ways to communicate stateless issue and advocate for change


  • Reaching out to different groups of stateless people in the United States to develop in depth case studies and stories

Legal Fellow Partnership Opportunities

United Stateless welcomes ideas from law students and recent law school graduates to work on statelessness at a host organization with USL as a partnering organization. (At this time, USL does not have the capacity to host a fellow directly within USL.)
We envision, as an example, partnering with a fellow who could be embedded in an immigration legal service provider who does detention visits and/or works directly with vulnerable immigrants. Such fellow would be the resident expert on statelessness and incorporate best practices with regards to statelessness into the host organization’s legal services, training, and advocacy programs; help identify and develop cases ripe for strategic litigation to advance stateless rights; and conduct legal research on relevant stateless/citizenship topics to support advocacy. United Stateless would be a partner organization to refer cases, provide guidance and training, and ensure that such work is guided by those impacted by statelessness directly.

Legal Research

The following topics could be researched and pursued in the following contexts: law schools, immigration clinics, law firms, law professors, legal journal article topics.


Barriers to rights, citizenship

What are certain litigation practices preventing people from getting on a pathway to citizenship? Are there certain litigation practices that have proved more successful?


Review of local (state, city/municipal/county) laws

Identify changes that would allow stateless in the US to access basic rights, without need for federal/congressional action or law reform.

Asylum rejections

How many asylum seekers are denied asylum, in spite of raising claims that include discriminatory denial of access to citizenship by country of origin, denaturalization, etc.? How many stateless apply for asylum but do not get refugee status? How many cases have been litigated in US courts for asylum seekers who are stateless, and win refugee status? (i.e., Haile v. Holder, Stserba v. Holder, Jourbina v. Holder)

Naturalization rejections

How many immigrants, how many refugees who apply for citizenship are rejected due to crimes of moral turpitude, fraud, or other factors? Of those groups, how many are stateless, with no country to be deported to? (i.e., Rohingya, Hmong, Bhutanese, Palestinian)


How many citizens have been denaturalized and rendered stateless by the US/in the US? Of cases litigated in court, has statelessness been raised as a mitigating factor against denaturalization?


How many stateless people are currently in immigration detention in the US? What is the average time stateless persons are detained? How often are stateless persons in the US detained over course of their lifetime? How much does it cost to detain stateless people in the US, in the past, current, future? How many stateless people are able to obtain legal counsel from detention and how many assert issues of statelessness in their claim for relief?

Strategic litigation

Targeting cases for strategic litigation that would have positive impact for the stateless. i.e. raising statelessness as a defense in denaturalization case; litigating the bar on entry without inspection to adjustment of status in the US (maybe focusing on a client who is stateless and married to an American citizen); litigating ICE supervision requirements/enforcement for stateless who cannot be deported; litigating US citizenship laws for those born overseas in a case where applicant has no other nationality claims.

Review of national laws, regulations, and agency practices/guidance

as it relates to and impacts stateless people. Identify gaps/problems that can be resolved through law reform. Not just immigration laws, but requirements to access other federal benefits and rights at the federal / national level.

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