If the person being deported refuses to reveal their country of origin or they're a Dreamer and grew up in the States, they may not even know where they originally came from.

Where would they be deported to? Would the government just pick a random country or make an assumption based on their appearance where they should be sent to?

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    The country under consideration is a factor. Is it specifically about the US? Check Reference 1, Reference 2 Aug 31, 2020 at 18:47
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    if someone doesn't "know where they originally came from", who's to say they aren't native?
    – dandavis
    Aug 31, 2020 at 19:39
  • @SeverusSnape: I've added the US tag since the q mentions "dreamers". My guess is the US authorities would investigate the origin of their parents and try to deport the child to one of countries where the parents came from. However this q is fairly nonsensical as "dreamers" by definition aren't undocumented. They need various documentary proofs listed the "requirements" bullet list to qualify for that status. (It's possible this q uses "dreamers" more generically though.) Sep 1, 2020 at 0:18
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    does this question extend to considering whether their supposed country of origin is ready to accept them back or not? I.e. Mexico, to take an example, may not just take at face value that Jose Random is originally a Mexican citizen, regardless of what USA says. Sep 1, 2020 at 1:02

2 Answers 2


Deportation has two sides. One country wants to deport a person, another has to accept that person. Sovereign countries have the right to refuse entry to random strangers, just as the US would be trying to do in your example.

  • Sometimes both the deporting country and the presumed country of origin agree on the nationality of the deportee. Then it doesn't really matter what the deportee thinks or says, after the usual legal proceedings he or she gets onto a plane.
  • Sometimes there are treaties to "return" a deportee to a third country. Usually that happens when the immigrant traveled through that third country, or when immigration officials think that must have happened.

The US has a relatively strong political position when it wants to convince other countries to take people it does not want, but it cannot unilaterally make foreign countries allow immigration.

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    Actually the US seems to have managed to convince Guatemala to even take Mexicans, so "they must have passed through the (3rd) country" condition doesn't seem always apply smh.com.au/world/north-america/… Sep 1, 2020 at 11:44
  • @Fizz, it is a recognized human right to flee from persecution, war or disaster. It is not a recognized human right to select your destination. A group of countries can agree how to distribute refugees.
    – o.m.
    Sep 1, 2020 at 14:42

They stay in custody, or some kind of "bail" while investigations continue.

Ultimately a judge rules on their case.

It is possible that deportation would leave a person stateless, which is a clear prima facia case for an application for asylum. Again this requires judgement, which is why we have judges.

  • Actually, it seems that the quora answer linked by user16 is correct in that being stateless is not an argument for asylum in the US and deportation to "safe" 3rd countries is possible/allowed. law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1158 It seems Trump managed to get (at least) Guatemala to agree to play such a role theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/26/… Sep 1, 2020 at 11:32
  • I don't think no-papers/no-answer is taken as a good cause for claiming asylum. The problem is that it would quickly become a way to game the system. I've seen references to that before, in Europe, where immigrants will destroy their papers to have no obvious place to be deported to. As with many things refugee-related, hard to say how prevalent it is or whether it's just FUD by anti-immigration groups. Sep 1, 2020 at 18:10

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