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Stateless man meets with Eni’s staffer

reporters@samoanews.com
Mikhail Sebastian (left) met this week in Washington D.C. with Congressman Faleomavaega Eni’s senior staffer Tavita Richmond (right). The pair discussed “statelessness issues and some changes needed for your territory,” said Sebastian via e-mail. More details in the Community Briefs. [courtesy photo]

Mikhail Sebastian, the stateless man who finally left the territory more than a week ago, after being stranded in American Samoa for 14 months, arrived in Washington D.C. this week, after being invited, while his lawyer is working on his case to remain permanently in the U.S.
 
In an email yesterday from D.C. to the news media, including Samoa News, Sebastian said that while in the nation’s capital, he also had a chance to give a speech to the Refugees International meeting about the issue of statelessness in the U.S.
 
He also met with the UN Refugee Commission (UNHCR) team who “worked hard to get me back home, and we filmed additional footage for the documentary that was already produced.” (The UNHCR team was in the territory last year to film the documentary, which has already been aired in the U.S.)
 
Sebastian said he also visited Congressman Faleomavaega Eni’s office and met with one of his senior staffers, Tavita Richmond. The pair discussed “statelessness issue and some changes needed for your territory,” said Sebastian.
 
“Congressman Faleomavaega Eni is committed to work with other members of Congress to add statelessness issues to our new comprehensive [federal] immigration reform,” he said.
 
Earlier this month, Faleomavaega wrote to local leaders seeking suggestions and recommendations on four pieces of legislation that he plans to introduce in the U.S. House for inclusion into the broader federal immigration reform bill that Congress will consider in months ahead.
 
One of his proposals is to address what is called a dilemma faced by ‘stateless’ individuals, who are not citizens of any country, such as Sebastian's case.



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