We are writing our collective history and future
United Stateless was created by stateless people who reside in the U.S. and understand the situation first-hand.
It all started with a few emails...
United Stateless started as a simple conversation between several stateless persons who found each other through social media, or by tracking the occasional newspaper article 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.
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 people 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 experience every single day of our lives.
It's Like Living in Solitary Confinement,
But Out in the World
"It made me feel empowered, like, Oh my goodness, I’m not alone. And then you hear that Einstein was a stateless person before he was a refugee. So it’s like, Wow, this has been happening."
The Collective Struggle
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 that change is possible; we will someday gain our rightful place in the world.
Some members of the United Stateless choose to stay anonymous or use aliases in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. We fully respect their decision.
Our Stories of Statelessness
Hi. My name is Nikolai. I am a stateless person. I came to the United States 12 years ago from Estonia — a country with a huge statelessness problem.
I believe that stateless people in America deserve to have rights! I want to encourage you to join our community of stateless people of America. Only by working together we have a chance to change the current situation.
My name is Karina and I have been stateless in the USA for over 20 years. I was born in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine of Armenian descent and at age 4 my parents sought refugee status in Canada and in the USA.
Both attempts were denied and now as an adult, I have been living in stateless limbo. I've often times felt like the life I am living and the story that I have to tell isn't being heard by the law. It is my passion and motivation to educate, share and bring to light my story and the story of the stateless living in the USA.
Dr. Abdul Hamid
My name is Abdul Hamid and I was born and raised in Burma (Myanmar) and belong to ethnic Rohingya, the world's most persecuted people. The entire Rohingya community became stateless as a result of discrimination based on ethnicity and religion.
In 1982 Burmese junta promulgated a discriminatory Citizenship law that was essentially based on the races, and 135 ethnic groups were recognized by the military dictatorship as being native to Burma, and thus eligible for citizenship which is enforced until this day. The “Rohingya”, however, is missing from this list despite having origins in Burma that can be traced back as early as the eighth century. Ever since the Rohingya have been treated as subhuman beings.
Eventually, I have migrated to Malaysia (in 1997) in order to escape from persecutions and oppression such as forced labor, arbitrary arrest, extortion of money, silent killing, confiscation of properties, arson attack, restriction on movement, just to name a few. I lived in Malaysia without having any status and finally was resettled to USA in 2015 as a refugee. I am stateless.
San Francisco, CA
My name is Ekaterina and I was born in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. I came to the U.S. in 1994 at age 16 as a student. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, and to travel, I was issued a Soviet passport. Many ethnic Russians were fleeing, fearing persecution, and my family urged me to try to continue my education in the USA.
Despite numerous attempts, I was not able to adjust my status. My home country stripped me of nationality in 2000, and considers me a citizen of the Soviet Union, a country which no longer exists. I have not seen my family in more than 24 years. I am a stateless person, a ghost, a citizen of Nowhere.
I am stateless and I have been in America since I was two years old. I am now twenty-nine and I still do not have a status to be able to work, drive and travel. It's been very hard living this way for so long. I am a writer and my dream is to work in the movie industry one day and also open up my own café. There are no words to describe how difficult life can be in this situation.
Being stateless, is being half-alive. Many people do not know what it feels like to be in the land of freedom and opportunity and have no freedom or opportunities. I often wonder what it would be like to wake up and be like any other guy, having privilege to work, drive and travel. Every human being should be able to have these basic human rights.
The city I was born in became a different country overnight. Because I lived on the wrong side of the border, I faced persecutions by authorities. When I fled to the U.S., my asylum application was denied. Ethiopian authorities allege I’m not a citizen, and I have no documents from Eritrea. If you don’t have a passport or a green card, you live a very sad life.
I was born in Athens, Greece, but am ethnically Albanian, preventing me from ever receiving birthright citizenship. I came to the United States at the age of 1, where I have been stateless and undocumented for the past 19 years. I now study Government and Economics at Harvard University, hoping to learn more about the political research regarding statelessness. I have discovered that the United States rarely mentions stateless people, and want to help contribute to an advocacy and support network such as United Stateless in order to bring light to our stories.