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Fri Dec 13, 2019, 12:57 PM

US should recognize American Samoans as citizens, judge says

Source: Associated Press

US should recognize American Samoans as citizens, judge says

By LINDSAY WHITEHURST and JENNIFER KELLEHER
December 13, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen.

The cluster of Pacific islands southwest of Hawaii is the only place in the country without an automatic claim to citizenship. People born there are labeled U.S. nationals, meaning they pay taxes but cannot vote, run for office or apply for certain government jobs.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups sided with three people from American Samoa who sued to be recognized as citizens. He ruled that the Utah residents are entitled to birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and ordered the government to issue them new passports.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the ruling applies outside Utah, which has a large number of people who hail from the territory and other Pacific island communities.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/75848eeba63184efc5f6dd4053ff9f1e

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