A second-class citizen is a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and socioeconomic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. However, they are different from "less-than-whole citizens", as second-class citizens are often disregarded by the law or have it used to harass them (see police misconduct and racial profiling). Systems with de facto second-class citizenry are generally regarded as violating human rights.
Typical conditions facing second-class citizens include but are not limited to:
A resident alien or foreign national, and children in general, fit most definitions of second-class citizen. This does not mean that they do not have any legal protections, nor do they lack acceptance by the local population. A naturalized citizen carries essentially the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen (a possible exception being ineligibility for certain public offices), and is also legally protected.
Proposals for a U.S. guest worker program—which would provide legal status to and admit foreign workers to the U.S., but provide no path to citizenship for them—has been criticized on the ground that such a policy would create second-class non-citizens.
Latvian non-citizens constitute a group similar to second-class citizens. Although they are not considered foreigners (they hold no other citizenship, have Latvian IDs), they have reduced rights compared to full citizens. For example, non-citizens are not eligible to vote or hold public office. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has described their status as making "people concerned feel like “second-class citizens”. Estonian non-citizens are in a similar position.
New Zealanders receive automatically a "Special Category Visa" upon entering Australia, which presents no pathway to Australian citizenship. New Zealanders are denied access to Centrelink, to name just one of the services. This means that if, for example, a New Zealand person came to Australia to live with his or her Australian spouse, and that spouse committed domestic violence upon them, the New Zealander could not then turn to Centrelink to provide them with funds to leave the abusive spouse.
Mainland Chinese citizens who are settling in Hong Kong or Macau by means of a one-way permit do not have citizenship rights (such as obtaining a passport) in both the mainland or the SAR after settling but before obtaining the permanent resident status, effectively rendering them second-class citizens.
Burakumin (部落民) is a designation of Japanese Second-class status meaning the people who are from a place called a "buraku." “Buraku” basically means a village or small district. For a long time, people have discriminated against people from a "buraku" even though they belong to the same race, and there are no differences between ordinary Japanese people and people who are called burakumin. It is not clear when and why this started, but it is said that it was most common in the Edo period. They are often called "eta" (穢多) or "hinin" (非人) meaning polluted or not a human. Even though in Meiji 4 (1871), this discrimination was officially ended by kaihourei (解放令), many people resisted it and continued treating them as burakumin. Today, fewer people are discriminate towards burakumin, however, the term burakumin is still recognized as a discriminating word while there are certain amount of recent young generations who do not even know the term and idea of burakumin. Also, in some cases, people still happen to be discriminated against, especially when they get a job or get married. These cases often reported as problems.
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