Monday, January 1, 2018

What about Stateless Dreamers? An Open Letter to Cory Booker

Millions of people world wide are stateless. The current population of stateless people in the US is unknown, but it is likely that the global problem of statelessness is reflected here in the US in micro. As each country is represented by an immigrant population, so the "country" of those without a country must surely be mirrored here. In addition, there are an unknown number of people born in the US who are not registered at birth. High risk groups include indigenous Americans and populations with a high rate of home birth, for example, certain religious groups.

I am friends with several stateless people in the United States. It's not easy to find stateless people, as many do not know they are stateless and many more are afraid to telegraph their status. Stateless Americans have much in common with the undocumented community, but the situation of stateless Americans is also unique. Many have no pathway to a solution in the US, but stateless Americans also cannot be deported to any country. They are truly in limbo, among the most vulnerable groups.

One of my stateless friends is on DACA, but she tells me it took her ages to apply, as she was told over and over again by immigration attorneys that she does not qualify. I suspect this is probably the case for many stateless Americans brought to the US as children.

Cory Booker's office has started an admirable project on the social media site Medium, highlighting DREAMers and those on DACA. But this open letter urges his office to focus also on the particular issues facing stateless Americans who qualify for DACA. It is also vital to start planning now for how the DREAM Act, when passed (and I say "when" because I believe it will be high on the post-Trump agenda, whichever Democrat gets elected) will affect stateless people and their particular needs.

If you are a stateless American brought to the US as a child, I urge you to get in touch with Cory Booker's office and press them to cover your story.

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