28 Jun 2013

American Samoa automatic US citizenship case thrown out of court

5:05 am on 28 June 2013

The lawsuit which challenged why persons born in American Samoa are not granted automatic US citizenship has been thrown out by a US Federal district court in Washington D.C.

The lawsuit filed in July last year by five individuals and a non-profit organisation, says anyone born in American Samoa should automatically have US 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 know 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.