American Samoa: Amata says No to U.S. citizenship

Uifa’atali Amata

American Samoa Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata supports U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision not to ‘impose’ U.S. citizenship on U.S. nationals in American Samoa.

 “I am gratified that the Biden administration has once again supported our territory’s legal position by urging the Supreme Court to allow the Appeals Court ruling to stand. The U.S. officially opposes imposing citizenship on U.S. nationals. This is consistent with prior presidential administrations, and the courts have time and again ruled in favour of American Samoa’s obvious right of self-determination. Whether the Supreme Court takes up the case or not, we are highly confident they will support the repeated findings of prior rulings sustaining American Samoa’s self-determination, and by extension, our right to preserve our fa’a Samoa.”

In 2021, special interest lawyers for three plaintiffs in the case of Fitisemanu v. United States joined other special interest lawyers in another territorial law case and in Congressional hearings to lobby Congress and the White House. These lawyers, focused on a national agenda, demanded that President Biden condemn the Insular Cases and thereby abandon the unincorporated territory status of our homeland.

In 2021 and now again in 2022, and in keeping with longstanding U.S. policy regarding American Samoa, President Biden has rejected the demand for courts to decide territorial status issues, instead recognising congressional capacity to address the territorial policy issues raised in these failed court cases.

Now, the U.S. Department of Justice is once again joining American Samoa in arguing on behalf of the American Samoa Government as parties in the U.S. Supreme Court case, and asking the U.S. Supreme Court to recognise and confirm that the people of American Samoa, and the Congress not the courts, have the responsibility to define political status of territories under federal law, based on self-determination in the territory.