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Stateless Worse Off Than Undocumented

September 21, 2014
Plain English Version
Srinuan “Aor” Saokhamnuan and her mother in her home village.

Srinuan “Aor” Saokhamnuan and her mother in her home village.

Stateless people have no country. They have no identity documents.

Most stateless people have no rights to the basics. They cannot get healthcare, education or employment. They cannot travel, open bank accounts, buy a house or car, or even get married.

Most daughters of poor stateless families are forced at a young age into factory work or prostitution. Srinuan “Aor” Saokhamnuan was safe only as long as she stayed in her village 530 miles from Bangkok.

Her story turned out differently.

She escaped from her village and made her way to an agency that helps people like her.

After a lot of red tape, the Thai government gave her an “alien travel document.” It allowed her to study overseas. Each year she had to return home to Thailand. Her story is one of close calls. She faced harassment and arrest.

Srinuan finally got Thai citizenship. She went to the United States and got a degree from the University of Wisconsin.

A forum on the world’s ten million stateless people was held in The Hague in the Netherlands. She was there to speak for the stateless.

There are many stories about stateless people living in countries where they have no rights. And they cannot be deported because no country will take them

The undocumented in the United States resemble the stateless. But there are important differences. The children of the undocumented who born in the United States are citizens of this country. There is a measure of due process for them. The individual states may treat them differently.

And nearly all of the undocumented have a country to which to return.

Migration is a world-wide matter.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor September 17, 2014

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