When President of the United States, Barak Obama on his speech that was addressed to the UN General Assembly on Sept 25, 2012 brought the tribute to US Ambassador in Libya Chris Stevens he said the following: “Chris Stevens loved his work. He took pride in the country he served…” First of all nothing in his speech ever mentioned human rights protection of stateless persons in the United States and human rights violation of stateless persons in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security. As Chris Stevens, stateless individuals living in the United States take pride in the country they serve and live, the United States of America. They become citizens without papers, get enrolled in the colleges and Universities and pay for their own education without asking help from the Government, build businesses and create jobs. That’s statelessness pride. Even without identity documents stateless persons live with dignity, liberty and opportunity, something that Department of Homeland Security tries to take away from us by violating international treaties that targets human rights issue.
When President Obama stated that “That the attacks on civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America” (referring to the attack on US Consulate in Libya), I want to say the following that the attacks on stateless persons by the Department of Homeland Security are attacks on international treaties, declarations and conventions this Government signed, are attacks on Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are attacks on International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are attacks on Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, are attacks against humanity and human rights practices. By violating human rights of stateless persons in the United States of America who are considered no citizens by any country are the violation of international and domestic human rights law, and are in contradiction to what we as Americans stand for. Dear Mr. President, would you please let stateless people of the United States know who will be relentless in tracking down the violators of human rights law and international treaties this Government signed in order to bring them to justice and face the trial at Inter-American Court on Human Rights? Does it mean it should be you, or Secretary of State, or Secretary of DHS? Will you be able to resolve the issue of statelessness in the United States peacefully through diplomacy instead of continuos violation of their human rights, mandatory detention, forceable/indefinite supervision program and prolong war that was launched by the Department of Homeland Security targeting the most vulnerable population of this country, stateless persons?
If you, Mr. President is serious enough to put the stop on inhumane practices your Government launched against statelessness in America, you should speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis of statelessness in the United States, not only abroad as your Government tries to shift the attention to. We should stop pretending that the United States does not have issue of statelessness and blame other nations for violating basic human rights of stateless persons abroad when we can’t solve this issue in our own home. You should reaffirm that the future of statelessness in the United States will be solved through the implementation of domestic policy law that provides path to citizenship for those “unrecognized” people who spent decades working and living in this country. Today you should declare that the violation of human rights of stateless persons in the United States and the intolerance of your Government has no place among our United Nations and work closely with the UNHCR in order to accede to 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons to provide the protection and freedom of movement for those of us who lack the nationality or any links between the Government and the country we reside in.
It has been 58 years since the United Nations adopted Convention that was aimed in protecting people who were not recognized as citizens or nationals by any states. This Convention gave birth to legalization of people who were forced into denial due to lack of citizenship, those who were driven out from their home country they lived in for so long, those who were born in the territories of the nations that did not provide birth certificates or citizenship status to new born babies because their parents were stateless, those who were displaced by the dissolution of their former states. And since the creation of 1954 UN Convention the world was captivated by the fate and struggle those stateless people had to endure in their daily survival, and the United States has never supported the forces of this Convention, and as of today, 58 years later, we still refuse to recognize the importance of this Convention in order to provide freedom, protection and dignity to those who were forced underground because we developed the attitude that those who are stateless are nobody, they don’t exist, and we should not care about them because they do not provide necessary votes you needed to be elected for the next term.
Your Government insisted on change in Egypt, supported a transition of leadership in Yemen, intervened in Libya with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council but your Government does not take the phenomenon of statelessness in your country seriously, and knowingly and intentionally refuses to become a signatory member of the United Nations 1954 Convention. The change in your immigration policy is not avoidable, the intervention of your Government and your party in the plights of thousands of stateless persons who live in limbo in the United States should be immediate. There are no more excuses to continue mental and physical torture of those of us, who you call invisibles, in the land of freedom and opportunity.
We, stateless people of the United States declare that the regime of oppression against us by the Department of Homeland Security must come to an end so that suffering of Stateless persons can stop, and a new dawn can begin. And that is your pledge to UN 1954 Convention we desperately waiting for. Elimination of statelessness in the United States and recognition of stateless persons as citizens of this country will serve as a basis for human rights protection and commitment to all international treaties we are obligated upon as soon as we became a signatory member of international documents in respect to human rights issues. Statelessness is disaster, statelessness provokes hate and provides path to instability and destruction of society we live in. The democratic spirit you talked about is restricted to stateless persons because we confined them within our territories with no possibility of escape. This is unjustifiable exile or open “Gulag” in modern world of 21st century. You talked about Burma where President has freed political prisoners but you did not mention any single word about the Government of the most powerful nation that imprisons stateless persons for indefinite duration without finding a legal remedy for their treatment, the Government whose Department of Homeland Security stays firm in its believes that stateless persons in the United States do not have rights at all, the Government that took away my life, my future, everything I worked and lived for just because I wanted to exercise my right of freedom of travel as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and got stranded in your own soil, your own territory, American Samoa without being able to return back to the country of my 16 years residency just because I am stateless. Around the globe, the US Department of State condemns statelessness and advocate their rights for citizenship and nationality but we continue blind policy towards statelessness in our own country, their dignity and their rights for citizenship.
During your speech you said the following: “True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe…” How can you justify the true democracy when your Government throws stateless persons in immigration jail and detain them indefinitely? How can you justify the fact that stateless persons deprived from their rights of travel when you are a signatory member of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? How can you justify the fact that stateless persons believe that they have all rights given to them as what is declared in UDHR and do believe that they can freely exercise their human rights but ended up in the Catch-22? How can you justify true democracy when US Government took 6 month out of my life by isolating me in the detention center, and now 9 month out of my life by keeping me confined in an exile in your own US territory? How can you justify true democracy when your Government forbids the access to our own stuff, our own property? How can you justify true democracy when your Government took away our jobs, our apartments by detaining us, deporting stateless persons, and make us look like criminals? How can you justify true democracy when your Government takes everything from us we worked hard for? And it is all just because we are stateless but lived long enough in the country to call home?
You said that “true democracy - real freedom - is hard work” and that what we, stateless persons worked hard to have our voices heard but your Government continues to silence us, continues to marginalize us because we gave too much freedom to the Department of Homeland Security that turned into “Gestapo” with their ruthless tactics punishing those who are not considered citizens or nationals of any state. The bureaucratic apparatus within the Department of Homeland Security should be terminated. There are not only domestic laws that immigration employees should take into consideration but international laws that are binding in our country when we deal with stateless persons or any other immigrants. When we have immigration officers who have no knowledge of international humanitarian laws, and lack the knowledge of their domestic immigration laws, who are not properly trained, who believe that American Samoa is a foreign nation and not realizing the fact that this is US territory, those who insist that stateless person who lived in the US for 16 years should file for humanitarian parole when he is not outside of the US but inside the US, those who ignore the support of international organization in the plight of stateless person such as UNHCR, International Observatory of Statelessness, etc., those who believe that stateless persons deport themselves with no protection given to them from another country, those immigration employee who decided that stateless person is not allowed to return to the US when he is still in the US, do you really think, Mr. President that the Department of Homeland Security properly resolving the issue of statelessness as accorded by the international law on human rights? Don’t you find the policy of DHS dysfunctional? I do.
How much can we tolerate the broken immigration policy and believe to Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration within the Department of State that United States of America does not contribute to the problems of statelessness when we obviously do?
In your speech at UN General Assembly today in regards to the video that provoked the violence in the Arab world, you said: “We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion - we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed of how they look or what they believe.” But do you know Mr. President that the United States is a home to estimated 4,000 stateless persons living in limbo and the United States failed to respect their freedom of movement, freedom of travel and their rights to become productive citizens of this country because we do not have laws that protect stateless persons from being harassed by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and this all because that we continue denying the principles of 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons? I was hoping for you to mention the problems of statelessness in the United States. I was hoping that at least once the President of this powerful nation would have enough courage to bring the suffering of stateless persons at the United Nations General Assembly, but you failed, as the same way you failed to implement immigration reforms when you were elected in 2008 and made people believe in your promises. And the same Violin of Stradivari continues to play year after year. But if you play the same music over and over again it would get on your nervous, it would drive you crazy, and at that point you would have no other choice but to break the Violin to stop the same music from playing over again because you got tired from listening the same tune every single day.
Does the Constitution of the United States gives immigration authorities green light to treat stateless persons inhumanely? Does the Constitution of the United States say that stateless persons living in this country should be deported to nowhere, or be tortured mentally on daily basis?
You also said that “Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense….I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views - even views that we profoundly disagree with.” So, does it mean that everything I said in my previous posts, criticism against your policy and the policy of the Department of Homeland Security, and the abuse of the international laws on human rights by your Government in respect to stateless persons provoked offense? Does it mean because I am not officially US citizen but “unofficial” resident and “unofficial” citizen of this country with sharp remarks that based on the true facts developed anger within the walls of the Department of Homeland Security who keep punishing me and continue violating my human rights and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by confining me in your territory? One friend of mine, wrote to me the following: “Mike, good your seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But you’re not out of the woods yet. Take a little friendly advise from one who knows. Lose the criticism towards those who can help you. Be strong, but be polite.” So, does it mean Mr. President that my freedom of speech is being violated? Does it mean that my critisism that based on true events, on the obstacles that other stateless persons like myself going through by dealing with immigration authorities made this Government, my Government, our Government, angry that refuses to provide any help and assistance? As a stateless person who lived in this country for 16 years, no criminal, paid taxes, I have the same rights as any other citizen of this country who holds “green card” or US passport to express my own point of views especially the views that are based on true facts, not a fiction story but reality, not “The Terminal” movie but the real life of stateless people in the United States. I am not creating the points of conflict, or trying to attack anyone just because I wanted to. I just want this Government to face the issue of statelessness and what it cause to our society and take everything that needed to stop torturing innocent stateless persons who by not their fault got stripped from citizenship of their former countries but lived long enough in the country to get finally legalized and become US citizens, as we do not have any other country to go to, and we cannot continue living like this for the rest of our life.
There are not words to excuse the violation of human rights of stateless persons, there are no words to excuse the mental and physical torture your Government put me through by holding in the captivity in the US territory against my will.