By Nikolai Levasov, a founding member of United Stateless

Illustration: Mawa Rannahr

The life of a stateless person in the U.S. is extremely difficult. Stateless persons are vulnerable individuals who are not recognized as citizens of any country. Because the US has not signed and ratified the International Conventions on Statelessness, nor established its own protection mechanisms, stateless people struggle to survive by living with severe restrictions created and imposed on them by Federal and State Governments. In addition to existing limitations on international travel that often lead to lifelong family separation, there is a concern that many stateless individuals will encounter issues…

By Nikolai Levasov, a founding member of United Stateless

The “Stateless” series, set in Australia, glosses over the only arguably stateless character, an elderly man who has been detained for over 7 years because no country would accept him for deportation. He remains a mute wallflower who sits in his suit on a chair in the courtyard of the detention center, with his suitcase by his side, staring into space. Illustration by Hanna Kim, an ally of United Stateless.

As one of the founding members of United Stateless, I, of course, was aware of the Netflix series long before it was released on July 8th. The issue we fight for every day being televised in a series is a great thing for our mission — it raises awareness and reaches an audience no other vehicle could possibly provide. We, as a group, discussed watching the series together. While some of our members have some feedback on what they are seeing, I personally decided not to watch the series at this…

By Jessica P. George, an ally of United Stateless

This scene from “Stateless” depicts the office of the immigration official tasked with managing visa applications at the detention center. The disorder and disregard for migrants’ files is indicative of the way many countries worldwide treat the people caught in their immigration systems, including the stateless. Illustration by Hanna Kim, an ally of United Stateless.

As Netflix mini-series “Stateless” debuted recently, I joined fellow colleagues of United Stateless to watch together via Netflix Party. United Stateless is a nonprofit led by stateless people in the United States with a mission to build community among the stateless and to advocate for their human rights.

You may be wondering, “What is a ‘stateless’ person?” Unfortunately, even if you have watched “Stateless,” you are no wiser.

The “Stateless” series is a powerful and moving drama that takes a hard look at the deep failings of our immigration systems.


By Ekaterina E, a founding member of United Stateless

The main character is a white Australian named Sofie with mental health challenges who finds herself in immigration detention (based on actual events). Another main character is Ameer, an Afghan refugee who, while deserving of protection, does not appear stateless. Illustration by Hanna Kim, an ally of United Stateless.

‘Stateless’ caught my attention as well as that of my friends and colleagues months prior to its release on Netflix. How could it not? I am a stateless person, and a founding member of a US-based organization United Stateless, whose mission is to raise awareness and to build community among stateless people living in the US.

One of our greatest challenges has always been the fact that most people have no idea what the word ‘stateless’ actually means. For this reason alone, we waited anxiously for the series’ release, hoping that…

United Stateless

We’re a national organization led by stateless people. We build and inspire community among those affected by statelessness and advocate for their human rights.

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