Stateless man stuck in American Samoa calls experience "nightmarish"

Oct 5, 2012 Full story: Samoa News 43

"Stuck in a nightmarish limbo in American Samoa" where the heat and humidity is unbearable most times, with thoughts of "suicide" to end it all, a native of Azerbaijan has appealed to, and pleaded with the federal government to let him reenter the United States, which has been his home of residence for more than a decade.

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“Live life one day at a time.”

Since: Apr 09

Location hidden

#1 Oct 6, 2012
Your entry into the United States is not an issue you have with the American Samoa Government. It is your issue with the U.S. Federal Government. They have specific guidelines for immigrants like you to follow. Your low self esteem which almost brought you to a decision to end your life (commit suicide) and the unbearable heat is your problem. You should seek a psychiatrist and stay in-doors and at night go and explore the night life just like every other American Samoa resident.
DREAMACT

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#2 Oct 6, 2012
Soia, if you have been in the situation of stateless person you would not be judging the way you are doing now. When someone who is not considered citizen by any states, lived, worked for 16 years in the US, paid taxes, not criminal, and just took vacation when he was advised that he won't face any problems, that is the flaw in our broken immigration policy. Never judge the book by cover. Try to live nine month in the heat and humidity when you are temperature sensitive person and see how it feels. But sitting there in the nice climate (where you probably are) and making nonsense comments does not help. You should better help to address the issue of statelessness in America, where almost 4,000 people like this live in legal limbo without any remedies provided. We allowed young undocumented illegal immigrants to stay in the US, we allowed gay illegal couples to stay in the US but we did nothing to solve the problem of statelessness. There are two very important conventions in regards to statelessness issue, UN 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and UN 1961 Convention Related to the Reduction of Statelessness and we never signed them in order to prevent this disaster to happen.

It is not his low self esteem you should blame for but our lawmakers and Congress that never implemented provision in our domestic policy to prevent the most vulnerable population, stateless persons. He was desperate, frustrated, angry because he does not know where is belongs to anymore. The heat and humidity is not his problem. This called unjustified exile by the Department of Homeland Security. You cannot keep someone in an exile in the places persons do not want to be, it is against their will, and this particular situation is humanitarian crisis, human rights issues and violation of human rights law, particularly when our country is party of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How would you feel if you decide to go on vacation somewhere you never been, and you did not like the place or the weather but you were denied entry back, and got stuck there? So, before trying to judge please read about statelessness and how does it effect to be a person without country, citizenship or nationality. God bless!
DREAMACT

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#3 Oct 6, 2012
Statelessness a condition depriving the individual of all positive rights. This in turn produces the anomaly of state sovereignty versus individual sovereignty, or state laws versus human rights. As a stateless myself I bring claim relating the alleged abuses suffered as a consequence of my lack of nationality which is 6 month detention by Immigration Authorities in an immigration jail, denial of legalization, forcible exile and detention in the US territory in South Pacific against my will and refusal to grant any travel document.

Granting a permanent resident status to stateless persons in the United States with 5 years residency and citizenship status to those with more than 10 years residency, who are not criminals and do not pose threat to the security of our nation is enough to extinguish victim status and to rectify the problems of the stateless persons in the United States. Why are we making this so difficult? How long we can blame stateless people on everything instead of blaming our own lawmakers and Congressmen for not implementing laws in legalizing those invisibles, who are citizens of nowhere?

I lived 16 years in the United States, and the US is the only country I know, its my home and my life. The agents of the DHS took away my life, my home, my property, everything I lived and worked for because they just do not care. They are not allowed me back but still keeping me in an exile in the US Territory. Statelessness is a crime against humanity and Congress has to do something to solve the problem of statelessness in America. Either to fix the gap in our broken immigration policy or to sign and ratify 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

“Live life one day at a time.”

Since: Apr 09

Location hidden

#4 Oct 7, 2012
DREAMACT wrote:
Statelessness a condition depriving the individual of all positive rights. This in turn produces the anomaly of state sovereignty versus individual sovereignty, or state laws versus human rights. As a stateless myself I bring claim relating the alleged abuses suffered as a consequence of my lack of nationality which is 6 month detention by Immigration Authorities in an immigration jail, denial of legalization, forcible exile and detention in the US territory in South Pacific against my will and refusal to grant any travel document.
Granting a permanent resident status to stateless persons in the United States with 5 years residency and citizenship status to those with more than 10 years residency, who are not criminals and do not pose threat to the security of our nation is enough to extinguish victim status and to rectify the problems of the stateless persons in the United States. Why are we making this so difficult? How long we can blame stateless people on everything instead of blaming our own lawmakers and Congressmen for not implementing laws in legalizing those invisibles, who are citizens of nowhere?
I lived 16 years in the United States, and the US is the only country I know, its my home and my life. The agents of the DHS took away my life, my home, my property, everything I lived and worked for because they just do not care. They are not allowed me back but still keeping me in an exile in the US Territory. Statelessness is a crime against humanity and Congress has to do something to solve the problem of statelessness in America. Either to fix the gap in our broken immigration policy or to sign and ratify 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
I am living the life here in American Samoa and I am not thinking about committing suicide because of the humidity. My problem with this visitor is he is making American Samoa as if we are the root causes of all his problem. He should have contacted the State Department and ask them what is wrong with his papers. We do not have the authority to let him travel into the United States anytime he feels like. Even if we wanted him to go is it possible for him to do so? How about others who did not before? Will it be fair?Sorry by this visitor should direct his anger at the state department and not drag my island in the pits.
FAUFAUTUA

Waianae, HI

#5 Oct 7, 2012
Interesting situation it seems that mr. Sebastian has gotten himself into. In my humble opinion, international laws state clearly for this act, in that stateless which is just because of said person not being of natural citizenship.

Just because a person hasnt commited, nor have a criminal background, doensnt necessarily mean he is granted to roam freely about.

Being that we are a territory, it brings us under international status, thus American Samoa having Am Samoa to follow under Immigration Law Status.

Mr. Sebastian's travel Itinerary was ill advised from the beginning on his part. Unprepared from the beginning, now facing a state of staeless. On top of that, travel beyond to another country, not recognizing international travell laws! And the results are his venting out to the wrong official due to his frustrations of just due!

With all this being said, he may even be deported back to his natural country before this nightmarish ordeal of his ends An experience he will never forget!!!

Since: Jan 11

Location hidden

#6 Oct 7, 2012
Taking into account the distance - Why would you travel all the way to American Samoa from the U.S for a FOUR DAY Holiday? Weird.
Tony

Apia, Samoa

#7 Oct 7, 2012
American Samoa is not a foreign country but is in the United States. American Samoa is a U.S. territory like Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. So when you're in American Samoa you are in the United States. Hawaii was a U.S. territory until 1959. So when Japan bombed Hawaii in 1941 they were bombing a U.S. territory, not a U.S. state, and that bombing was an attack against the U.S. as Japan had attacked the U.S., not a foreign country. So all those people who are say that Mikhail Sebastian left the U.S. by visiting American Samoa needs to get their facts straight. American Samoa is a part of the U.S. I used to live in Guam and make no mistake about it, Guam, and all other U.S. territories, are not foreign countries but part of the U.S. Now, Mikhail Sebastian's visit to the independent nation of Samoa, which was until 1997 named "Western Samoa," is another matter. But his trip to America Samoa was not a trip abroad but a trip within the U.S. AMERICAN SAMOA IS NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY BUT IS A PART OF THE UNITED STATES!

“Live life one day at a time.”

Since: Apr 09

Location hidden

#8 Oct 8, 2012
Tony wrote:
American Samoa is not a foreign country but is in the United States. American Samoa is a U.S. territory like Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. So when you're in American Samoa you are in the United States. Hawaii was a U.S. territory until 1959. So when Japan bombed Hawaii in 1941 they were bombing a U.S. territory, not a U.S. state, and that bombing was an attack against the U.S. as Japan had attacked the U.S., not a foreign country. So all those people who are say that Mikhail Sebastian left the U.S. by visiting American Samoa needs to get their facts straight. American Samoa is a part of the U.S. I used to live in Guam and make no mistake about it, Guam, and all other U.S. territories, are not foreign countries but part of the U.S. Now, Mikhail Sebastian's visit to the independent nation of Samoa, which was until 1997 named "Western Samoa," is another matter. But his trip to America Samoa was not a trip abroad but a trip within the U.S. AMERICAN SAMOA IS NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY BUT IS A PART OF THE UNITED STATES!
I don't think his visit to the territory was the problem. It is his traveling to (Western) SAMOA, a foreign country, that caused the problem. I don't know about the U.S. policy on domestic and international traveling on immigrants, but I think the visitor should have known about these issues. I would have been extra careful if I knew I had a difficult time trying to secure my immigration status with the Federal Government.

Since: Aug 12

Location hidden

#9 Oct 8, 2012
Yes, I do thing it was a bit far fetched that this guy is stuck in a Paradise location and wants to complain about the humidity...

Beats his native war torn native country. gets stuck in the island paradise of samoa and he's complaining.. smh

Whiners like that guy should be put away... send him back to his native piece of ta'e land and see how much he'll be missing the humidity... LOL
FAUFAUTUA

Waianae, HI

#10 Oct 8, 2012
The situation he's going thru now is a "security" matter. He, not being a natural citizen resulted in the actions that have been taken against Mr Sebastien in the first place.

My only concern in the matter is, why is it taking so long to process? You would think he would try and get his natural country involved so that those officials can speak with our (American) officials and maybe speed up a solution of him being there no longer than he has to be?

After all, he did violate immigration laws. The only reason why its an ordeal is because of Mr Sebastien not be a natural citizen(born) of America.
Concordian

Framingham, MA

#11 Oct 8, 2012
DREAMACT wrote:
As a stateless [person] myself I bring claim relating the alleged abuses suffered as a consequence of my lack of nationality which is 6 month detention by Immigration Authorities in an immigration jail, denial of legalization, forcible exile and detention in the US territory in South Pacific against my will and refusal to grant any travel document.
I've read your story in a number of places, including your blog, and I'm confused about your trip to [Western] Samoa. Would you mind answering a question or two?

1. What documents (if any) did you show the transport company when you got on the plane to prove you were admissible to [Western] Samoa?

2. When you got there, were you admitted by immigration authorities?

3. If so, what documents (if any) did you show the transport company to return to American Samoa?

4. Did the American Samoan authorities admit you again, or did they have to take you back because you were refused entry in Samoa?

Thank you.
Mikhail Sebastian

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#12 Oct 8, 2012
Concordian wrote:
<quoted text>
I've read your story in a number of places, including your blog, and I'm confused about your trip to [Western] Samoa. Would you mind answering a question or two?
1. What documents (if any) did you show the transport company when you got on the plane to prove you were admissible to [Western] Samoa?
2. When you got there, were you admitted by immigration authorities?
3. If so, what documents (if any) did you show the transport company to return to American Samoa?
4. Did the American Samoan authorities admit you again, or did they have to take you back because you were refused entry in Samoa?
Thank you.
Dear Concordian! Thank you. Before I answer your questions, I want people to read about statelessness before making quick judgement. You never been in the shoes of stateless persons so please refrain yourself from judging and making negative comments.

1. I have World Passport that was issued to me by World Service Authority in Washington DC for stateless persons who do not have any citizenship or nationality. The same passport I provided to Hawaiian Airlines who advised me that I was OK traveling to AS and back with this passport. Polynesian Airlines never checked my passport and never asked for it when I purchased my airline ticket to Apia in Western Samoa, and they never advised me it was a foreign island nation.

2. When I got to Western Samoa, I was told I had to clear immigration inspection, and when I told them that I did pass immigration in Pago Pago, I was told that Eastern part of Samoa belonged to the US and Western is an Independent Nation. I showed them World Passport, and they guy looked suspicious and when he asked me if I have any papers from the US showing my status as stateless, I have provided him letter from Immigration and Customs Inspection stating my status as stateless and letter issued to me by USCIS stating I was allowed to travel with World Passport. After this he stamped my passport.

3. When I returned to American Samoa I showed the same World Passport and they already had me in their system. They stamped as transit this time when I was on my way to Los Angeles via Honolulu.

4. They have admitted me back again.

Here is I want some those people with negative attitude to know about their Government in American Samoa. It was their mistake as well from the beginning. I was wrongly advised by LA immigration authorities that I was allowed to travel and come back, and by Hawaiian Airlines who checked all my papers and gave me green light. When I sent an email to American Samoa attorney general office asking for travel permission (that what I was told by ICE agent in LA), they requested copy of my passport and other documents. I have sent them the copy of the World Passport, and letters from ICE including copy of my working permit issued by DHS. The Attorney General office failed to check with the Department of State if World Passport was accepted to return back (I did not know about this until I got stuck here when I did my research). Also, they though that my working permit was my "green card" (permanent US residency card), and I was told about those mistakes only here when this mess happened.

When people try to make quick judgement about statelessness without knowing fact it boggles the mind. For locals I want to say that I am grateful to people who helping me here, and for local government who tries to fix this issue and allow me back. But, I am not an island person, I do not like the local weather and climate, no matter how green this place is I do not like this place, and it is against the persons will to confine him in the place he does not want to be. I tried to get an asylum in Europe and Canada but I was told that by law I need to be on the territory of EU nation to claim asylum, it cannot be done outside of EU. Also, since my long-term residency was in the US they can't find any motives to allow me to seek an asylum in other "safe" country
Mikhail Sebastian

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#13 Oct 8, 2012
soia wrote:
<quoted text>I don't think his visit to the territory was the problem. It is his traveling to (Western) SAMOA, a foreign country, that caused the problem. I don't know about the U.S. policy on domestic and international traveling on immigrants, but I think the visitor should have known about these issues. I would have been extra careful if I knew I had a difficult time trying to secure my immigration status with the Federal Government.
The whole issue started with American Samoa, plus adding to this Western Samoa. DHS officials said that American Samoa runs their own immigration meaning I am in foreign nations. Even AS runs its own immigration its part of the US, it is US territory. Paragraph 215.1 from USCIS website in regards to control of aliens departing from the US states: "The United States means all states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico. American Samoa, Swains Island, Northern Mariana Islands, and all territory, water or insular subject to the US jurisdiction." American Samoa is subject to US jurisdiction. When they say I self deported myself leaving US for American Samoa, and than self deported going to Western Samoa. I have entered US territory legally from Western Samoa, I did not swim Pacific Ocean to get to US territory illegally. We should do not be blaming stateless people but our Congress and DHS that did nothing to prevent and protect stateless people living like this in the US. Most EU nations and other countries signed UN 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons but the US never had. I do not wish anyone or anybody to find themselves in the shoes of stateless persons. There are a lot of publications about statelessness and I recommend people to read them before making quick judgements.

Thank you.
Mikhail Sebastian

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#14 Oct 8, 2012
Tony wrote:
American Samoa is not a foreign country but is in the United States. American Samoa is a U.S. territory like Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. So when you're in American Samoa you are in the United States. Hawaii was a U.S. territory until 1959. So when Japan bombed Hawaii in 1941 they were bombing a U.S. territory, not a U.S. state, and that bombing was an attack against the U.S. as Japan had attacked the U.S., not a foreign country. So all those people who are say that Mikhail Sebastian left the U.S. by visiting American Samoa needs to get their facts straight. American Samoa is a part of the U.S. I used to live in Guam and make no mistake about it, Guam, and all other U.S. territories, are not foreign countries but part of the U.S. Now, Mikhail Sebastian's visit to the independent nation of Samoa, which was until 1997 named "Western Samoa," is another matter. But his trip to America Samoa was not a trip abroad but a trip within the U.S. AMERICAN SAMOA IS NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY BUT IS A PART OF THE UNITED STATES!
Thank you Tony. You are the one from here that understands the issue, others just keep throwing words left and right without gathering facts first.
Mikhail Sebastian

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#15 Oct 8, 2012
Soraia wrote:
Taking into account the distance - Why would you travel all the way to American Samoa from the U.S for a FOUR DAY Holiday? Weird.
Why not? Why people travel to different places? Why anyone else can travel and stateless people are not allowed to travel? We have Universal Declaration of Human Rights that our country is party, and it specifically says that anyone can move and travel freely, and it does not say stateless or not stateless.
Concordian

Framingham, MA

#16 Oct 8, 2012
Mikhail Sebastian wrote:
<quoted text>

[...]
2. When I got to Western Samoa, I was told I had to clear immigration inspection, and when I told them that I did pass immigration in Pago Pago, I was told that Eastern part of Samoa belonged to the US and Western is an Independent Nation. I showed them World Passport, and they guy looked suspicious and when he asked me if I have any papers from the US showing my status as stateless, I have provided him letter from Immigration and Customs Inspection stating my status as stateless and letter issued to me by USCIS stating I was allowed to travel with World Passport. After this he stamped my passport.
Thanks for replying. Is this the letter you showed them?

https://acrobat.com/app.html#d=dcJ1gkCJO1IGDP...
Mikhail Sebastian

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#17 Oct 8, 2012
Concordian wrote:
<quoted text>
Thanks for replying. Is this the letter you showed them?
https://acrobat.com/app.html#d=dcJ1gkCJO1IGDP...
Yes, this one and another one here: https://acrobat.com/app.html#d=acb6eJi2CMVrg0...
Concordian

Framingham, MA

#18 Oct 8, 2012
Thanks. I can't read the second one, but the first one was not written by a native English speaker.

I was most interested in whether the AS government had last admitted you from the US or from Western Samoa. Apparently you were admitted coming from Western Samoa.

Good luck to you.

“Live life one day at a time.”

Since: Apr 09

Location hidden

#19 Oct 8, 2012
Mikhail Sebastian wrote:
<quoted text>
Why not? Why people travel to different places? Why anyone else can travel and stateless people are not allowed to travel? We have Universal Declaration of Human Rights that our country is party, and it specifically says that anyone can move and travel freely, and it does not say stateless or not stateless.
The problem is you have to get your legal documents all settled before you travel. The United States does not even claim you as one of its own. Why would you even jeopardize your residency if you knew you are having a problem with it? I am surprised that you even had a job. You are one of the millions of overstayer the United States have to find and return to their rightful destination. Tony needs to see the problem like he should. I think you will have to go through filing a declaration of intention with the U.S. Immigration Agency again since you are not an American citizen or national.
Mikhail Sebastian

Pago Pago, American Samoa

#20 Oct 8, 2012
Concordian wrote:
Thanks. I can't read the second one, but the first one was not written by a native English speaker.
I was most interested in whether the AS government had last admitted you from the US or from Western Samoa. Apparently you were admitted coming from Western Samoa.
Good luck to you.
First I entered American Samoa from the US, then I went to Western Samoa, and I returned to American Samoa legally. I can email you the first ICE letter if you want to, you can find me on twitter: MikhailBenoit
Thank you

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