Yury Decyatnik, the feature of a 2014 Seattle Times article, just wanted to go home. According to that article (found here) "he has been under a final order of removal from the United States for over a decade. In that time, he’s been constantly unemployed and lives out of his car in Seattle. He’s been arrested and wants the U.S. government to deport him." The trouble is, he no longer has a home country to return to. He was born in the USSR, in the area that is now the Ukraine, but because he wasn’t in the country when the Soviet Union broke up, the Ukraine authorities won’t provide the travel documents he needs to leave. Without a home country, he is deemed a "Stateless Immigrant," a person with no formally recognized nationality or citizenship. And while some potential deportees would be thrilled to be undeportable, being stateless comes with it's own unique challenges, such as not being able to take advantage of the legal and diplomatic protections of any country.
A person can also become stateless if he or she cannot produce sufficient documentary evidence of his or her nationality, a common problem here in California for some Mexican immigrants if they don't have legal legal status in the United States and cannot provide proof of birth registration in Mexico.
To help combat these types of problems the US recognizes (1) that under the Fourteenth Amendment, any child born in US territory is automatically a US citizen, even if the child’s parents are stateless, and (2) for the most part, children born abroad to US citizens are eligible for US citizenship.
While the stateless facing deportation are generally treated like other non-US citizens, deportation proceedings can unfortunately lead to lengthy periods of detention. Stateless persons facing deportation are typically detained for ninety days, during which time a country of removal is assigned to them—even if there is no reasonable expectation that deportation will succeed. After that point, a judge can have the detainee released (with lawful authority to work in the US,) under an order to check in with Immigration Authorities as they work towards getting the appropriate travel documents, however impossible that may be. However, it isn't until after six months of detention have elapsed that the burden shifts to the US government to prove that it is possible in the foreseeable future that the removal of will happen.
To find out more, an interesting article on the topic can be found here.
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