Am. Samoa Citizenship Lawsuit Thrown Out By Court

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Judge: territory has not been granted citizenship by birthright

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 27, 2013) – The lawsuit which challenged why persons born in American Samoa are not granted automatic U.S. citizenship has been thrown out by a U.S. Federal district court in Washington D.C.

The lawsuit filed in July last year by five individuals and a non-profit organization, says anyone born in American Samoa should automatically have U.S. citizenship.

The defendants were the government of the United States, The State department, The Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary of State for consular Affairs.

The ruling by Judge Richard Leon said to be covered by the Citizenship clause, a person must be born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.

He concluded that Congress to date has not seen fit to bestow birthright citizenship upon American Samoa, and in accordance with the law the court must and will respect that choice.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Charles Alailima, says they are going to appeal.

"We have known all along that the significant constitutional issue in this case would be decided on appeal, no matter which way the trial judge decided. We respectfully disagree with the judge Leon’s analysis and we will be discussing the options for appeal with our clients."

Charles Alailima says his clients were disappointed the judge did not look at the unique history of the territory.

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