3 Jun 2013

American Samoa to make US citizenship a matter of choice

5:29 am on 3 June 2013

The American Samoa governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga says it is an individual's choice whether they want to become a United States citizen.

A lawsuit is pending in Washington DC that seeks to have the court rule that all persons born in American Samoa should automatically be US citizens.

But Lolo says American Samoans are not prohibited from seeking US citizenship if they so desire.

He says the choice should be left to each individual and not forced upon him or her.

Lolo says he is concerned at the impact the automatic bestowal of US citizenship would have on the local land tenure system.

Most land in the territory is communally held and overseen by a ranking chief of an extended family.