New guidance was released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help stateless foreign nationals in the country who are requesting immigration benefits or other services. Stateless individuals struggle to access education, healthcare, marriage, and employment since they are not regarded as citizens of any nation legally. They may also be denied a legal identity. People may lose their nationality due to prejudice, war and other violent conflict, or a change in the country’s boundaries or laws. The new guideline makes it clearer when and how USCIS may consider a noncitizen stateless while deciding whether to provide immigration benefits or to evaluate a request for additional services.
To implement this guidance effectively, USCIS will develop updated procedures and enhanced training for officers. Specially trained personnel will assist adjudicating officers in assessing an individual’s potential statelessness and provide advisory reports to consider when making decisions on applications or benefit requests. Additionally, USCIS officers will have access to specific documentation and evidence examples to assist in determining whether noncitizens may be classified as stateless for USCIS purposes.
Apart from supporting stateless noncitizens, this guidance will help USCIS collect comprehensive and accurate data on this vulnerable population. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), approximately 218,000 stateless people currently reside in the United States. With this new approach, USCIS aims to ensure fair treatment and improve support for stateless individuals seeking immigration benefits and other necessary services.
This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).