University of Baltimore Journal of International Law


Jasmine Pope


What is citizenship? What does it mean to be American, French, Sudanese, Thai, or Bolivian? Is it simply being born in any given country or is it something more than that? These are questions that for many people, they rarely think about on a daily basis, and yet for some, this question plagues every second and every ounce of their being. On a Sunday afternoon in December, thousands of people watch National Football League games. Prior to the start of every game, the National Anthem is sung. Some fans sing along, some fans stand in silence, some players pray, and others simply remove their hats and place their hand over their hearts. One thing that connects them all, is the proud feeling of being American. It is a feeling that most take for granted. Every day, people wake up and go about their lives, and don’t give much thought, if any at all, to the fact that they are a United States citizen. For millions of people in the world, the sense of pride that comes with being a national of a country is nonexistent because they are without a nationality; they are stateless. Jay Milbrandt noted that “statelessness is an often-overlooked struggle. We take for granted that we have legal identity and officially belong to a nation.”



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