8 May 2007

Naturalisation process in American Samoa under question

9:46 am on 8 May 2007

The right to automatically become a U.S. national by being born in American Samoa is being questioned by a commission set up to study the political status of the territory.

The commission is recommending that the territory retain its current status but it is proposing changes in other areas, including public education, the preservation of culture, the constitution, and immigration.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says among the recommendation from the commission is that the governor and the fono enact laws to further restrict foreigners entering and residing in American Samoa.

Fili Sagapolutele says concerns were also voiced in the commission's public hearings about the rights of children born to foreigners.

"Their concern is that there are too many foreigners coming in to the territory. giving birth and then they're eligible to hold the status of U.S. nationals. Most of the leaders agree that this is a privilege given only to American Samoans by their mother country, the United States, and no-one else should be eligible for that status."

Fili Sagapolutele says the commission is proposing legislation be pursued which restricts the status of U.S. nationals to those born in the territory whose ancestors were residents in 1900.