CLINIC and United Stateless Launch Joint Project to Address Statelessness

Last Updated

April 28, 2021

CLINIC and United Stateless will be joining forces to provide resources to the legal community about issues of statelessness and potential avenues for permanent relief. According to Center for Migration Studies, there are approximately 218,000 people in the United States who are stateless or are at risk of becoming stateless. The U.S. legal system does not provide adequate pathways for stateless people to secure permanent status.

People may be born without having citizenship or may become stateless. For example, many people who were born in the former Soviet Union became stateless when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and they were unable to obtain citizenship from any of the successor states. Other ethnic groups, such as Roma people, may have been unable to obtain any documentation of their legal status in European countries due to longstanding discrimination. Laws that discriminate on account of gender, such as Syrian laws that allow fathers to pass on citizenship but not mothers, have left many Syrian refugees stateless. And others who gave up their citizenship to naturalize, may become stateless if they are denaturalized. These are but a few examples of the myriad ways that citizenship laws, that vary from country to country and often codify discrimination, may leave individuals without a country of citizenship.

United Stateless is a nonprofit organization founded by stateless people to advocate for “a world in which everyone's human right to Nationality is respected and upheld.” United Stateless will work closely with CLINIC to identify legal issues and cases on which CLINIC can provide assistance. “Working with CLINIC is a great opportunity for us," said Jessica George, who leads United Stateless's legal referral program. "We are excited through this partnership to raise awareness within the American immigration legal community about stateless issues."

The partnership has received funding through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. CLINIC and United Stateless will host a free webinar on June 25 to introduce legal practitioners to issues of statelessness and provide information on how to screen for statelessness. CLINIC will mentor cases referred by United Stateless and create practice materials that will assist others providing representation to stateless individuals. CLINIC is also launching a listserv for lawyers and accredited representatives who are working on (or wish to work on) cases involving stateless clients. To join this listserv, please email Vickie Neilson at CLINIC is excited to be working with United Stateless to address the challenging legal issues that this vulnerable population face.