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Will the United States Legalize the Stateless People?

Stateless people in the United States believe that President Obama will provide them a path to citizenship, in his second term. There are more than 4,000 people in America who are stateless and the immigration advocates say that the United States, will legalize the stateless in the country. If the United States provides pathways to legalization, many other countries will follow the United States and legalize the stateless people in their countries and there are approximately 12 million stateless people across the globe. Immigration advocates say that the stateless remain in the Western World and no one actually knows them.

America allows the stateless people who are granted asylum to obtain US citizenship but the others who are stateless are ineligible for lawful status. Unlike the United States, there are many European countries that allow the stateless to obtain citizenship. If the asylum requests of the stateless in the United States, are denied, they will be deported. And this is similar to the case of Tatianna Lesnikova, who is a citizen of Ukraine. She had entered into the United States on her Soviet passport due to political persecution, 20 years ago and she is now stateless. She is now unable to leave the United States as she is unable to obtain her travel documents. That is because the US immigration laws do not allow stateless people like her to obtain travel documents and does not allow such people to legalize and so the stateless people are helpless.

Mikhail Sebastian, is another stateless man, who was not allowed to re-enter the United States after he spent few days in American Samoa, which is a US territory. US immigration officers did not allow him to get into the United States and he was isolated for almost a year. UNHCR reports state that the stateless people suffer a lot and are homeless. They also suffer mental trauma as they are being put into immigration detention for years together.

US authorities say that they are working for the well being of the stateless and the US Department of State, earlier this year announced that it is sufficient if the stateless check in with the US immigration officers, few times a year. UNHCR wants the United States to provide the stateless people travel documents and allow them to travel outside the country. However, the law that was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, that would allow the stateless to obtain lawful status, failed to pass. But the immigration advocates say that the country will focus on the stateless people. Refugee Protection Act of 2011, if passed, is likely to allow the stateless people in America to obtain lawful status in the country.

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