Congressman Eni called upon to include plight of stateless in immigration reform
Mikhail Sebastian, the stateless man stuck in the territory for more than a year, has called on Congressman Faleomavaega Eni to include in federal reform legislation provisions to address stateless individuals in the United States.
The 39-year old native of Azerbaijan became stateless when the former republic of the USSR collapsed. He lived and worked in the U.S. for 16 years and traveled to the territory in December 2011, a move which the federal government called Sebastian's own self deportation.
He received the good news last week that he will be allowed to be paroled back to Los Angeles for humanitarian reasons, but the ordeal that he faced as a stateless man is something he plans to take up upon returning to the U.S., so that others don’t face the same fate.
Yesterday he sent an email letter to Faleomavaega requesting the Congressman “ do anything possible in your power to convince U.S. Congress to add special legislation in our comprehensive immigration reform dealing with stateless individuals in the United States.”
“We, stateless people should not be left behind as what this government did to us for years,” he wrote. “I do not want statelessness to be overlooked again and overshadowed by our lawmakers as happened before. Statelessness should be added to immigration reform that Congress is debating now and about to pass early this year.”
“What happened to me should never happen again to anyone,” he said and proposed amendments to federal immigration reform law in which a stateless person who resides in the United States for more than five years, pays taxes, has employment authorization granted to them, speaks English, and has no criminal background should automatically be granted "green card" and become lawful permanent residents.
Additionally, he proposes that a stateless person who has resided in the U.S. for more than ten years, paid taxes, had employment authorization by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, speaks English and has no criminal background should become naturalized citizens of the United States.
Sebastian said that upon his return to the U.S. he will do what he can to protect the rights of others, who are stateless —or individuals with no home country.
“...it is my call and my duty to make sure the United States fully implements all necessary measures to protect and reduce statelessness in this country and pass special legislation concerning statelessness,” he said in interview aired on Radio Zealand International.
“Especially right now, that US congress is debating comprehensive immigration reform— and I just don’t want statelessness issue to be left aside and be forgotten again and to be in the shadows,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sebastian is awaiting the necessary documents and approval for him to return to Los Angeles, where he plans to seek asylum to reside permanently in the U.S.