Washington and Lee Law professor David Baluarte is presenting this week at The Hague, the Netherlands at the first Global Forum on Statelessness. The three-day event is co-hosted by UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Statelessness Programme of Tilburg University. The program contains presentations and discussion on three major themes: Stateless Children, Statelessness and Security, and Responses to Statelessness.
Professor Baluarte will speak at two presentations:
“Denationalization as Persecution in the United States”
This presentation will provide an overview of the situation of stateless asylum seekers in the United States and specifically explore the question of whether deprivation of nationality qualifies as persecution under US asylum law. This presentation will unfold in three parts. First, the presentation will describe the legal limbo that stateless persons in the United States often occupy, and the vulnerability that characterizes their existence both as a matter of law and fact. Second, the presentation will review the application of US asylum law to stateless persons, and specifically elaborate on the jurisprudence that has explored whether denationalization constitutes persecution under US law. Finally, the presentation will conclude with recommendations for legal representatives, adjudicators, and US government agencies on how to achieve a necessary, uniform recognition of denationalization as persecution under US law.
“A Statelessness Law Clinic in the United States”
This presentation will share the findings of the first legal representation project for stateless persons in the United States. In 2013, Prof. Baluarte initiated a pilot project to assist UNHCR in the design of an intake and referral procedure for the stateless persons, who have no status in the US and enjoy no legal protection. The goals of this project were to assist stateless individuals in addressing the legal challenges that they face, systematizing information about these challenges, and devising advocacy strategies and model advocacy documents.
This presentation will provide an overview of the legal challenges faced by stateless persons in the United States; review some of the advocacy strategies that can be utilized to protect their rights; and describe the educational significance of doing this in the context of a law school clinic in the US.