Senate approves measure supporting US Court of Appeals ruling

The Senate has approved by unanimous vote a Senate Concurrent Resolution which throws the support of the Legislature and the people of American Samoa behind the Federal Court of Appeals’ decision respecting the right of American Samoans to retain their current statutory birthright status as US nationals.

The Court of Appeald had reversed a lower court ruling in the Fitisemanu vs United States case which said that persons born in American Samoa automatically become US citizens.

The resolution, which was recommended by Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata, notes thst the power to make rules and regulations for US territories involves political questions reserved to the US Congress and not within the judicial power of the federal courts unless “jurisdiction is established in a case and controversy under federal law.”

The measure invites those representing special interests supporting the lawyers in the Fitisemanu case to visit American as Samoa to meet with elected and traditional leaders and people in the villages, and if convinced the people want US citizenship, “to work within the existing governmental processes to hold a referendum on the subject.”

The measure also expresses support of legislation offered by Congresswoman Uifa’atali to streamline and speed up the process for American Samoans to attain citizenship.