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U.S federal court ruling gives American Samoans citizenship
11:25 pm GMT+12, 12/12/2019, United States

A U.S federal judge has ordered the government to grant birth right citizenship to individuals born in America Samoa.

Although American Samoa is a U.S territory, American Samoans have to date been deemed non-citizen nationals.

The ruling was handed down in a district court in Utah, where a group of American Samoans living in the state had filed a lawsuit.

They argued that they should be considered U.S citizens under the 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.

The Constitution's grant of birth right citizenship applied to anyone born in a U.S state or territory.

People of other U.S unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas and Guam, already had U.S citizenship, but not American Samoans.

The anomaly has been a source of frustration for many American Samoans living on the U.S mainland where they have been ineligible for many federal opportunities.

It has prompted various challenges by American Samoans before the Utah lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in this case were John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tuli.

Now, Judge Clark Waddoups has ruled in favour of three American Samoan plaintiffs, that they should be included in the U.S Constitution's grant of birth right citizenship.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS

 


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