Refugee Status as an Alternative for Stateless Adoptees

Sam Han
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

Under international law, “statelessness” is the status given to an individual without citizenship under the operation of any country’s laws.[1] In the United States, an estimated 35,000 intercountry adoptees currently do not possess U.S. citizenship,[2] and by definition, are considered stateless persons. By no fault of their own, many of these adoptees are not given citizenship because of clerical errors or the oversight of their adoptive parents.[3] This has significant legal ramifications, especially in contexts where these adoptees face deportation.[4] Continue reading

Estonia’s Obligations to its Stateless Population

Jennifer P. Nelson, Vol. 37 Associate Editor

In regaining its independence in 1991, Estonia embarked on a political and legal restoration of its national identity in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Focused on turning back the clock to a more pristine pre-WWII Estonian Republic, the legislature thus decided on November 6, 1991 that citizenship of the newly independent State would be extended only to those who were citizens of the pre-war Estonia and to their descendants.[1] By 1992, the country’s Citizenship Act from 1938 had been re-enacted to actively exclude Soviet-era settlers while simultaneously granting automatic citizenship to those who were Estonian citizens prior to the Soviet takeover in 1940 and their descendants.[2] As a result, a large portion of Estonia’s population suddenly transitioned from holding Estonian citizenship to being “individuals with undetermined citizenship”. Continue reading