11 Feb 2013

Stateless man overjoyed at winning right to return to US mainland

7:40 pm on 11 February 2013

A stateless man who has been stranded in American Samoa for over a year says he's overjoyed that he is allowed to return to the United States.

Mikhail Sebastian became stateless when the former Soviet Union collapsed.

He had lived in the United States for 16 years, but after visiting American Samoa and Samoa he was prevented from returning on the grounds that he had deported himself.

Mr Sebastian got word over the weekend that a second application to return to the United States as a humanitarian parole has been approved, and he says he's overwhelmed with joy and happiness.

"That finally after one year and two months of my struggle, battle and ordeal I was going through that I finally got permission to get back home to the United States. I am very grateful to the United States Citizenship and Immigration services."

Mikhail Sebastian says he also thanks the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which was tireless in its efforts to do everything it could for justice to prevail.