Amata Clarifies that U.S. National Status Will Not Change

November 1, 2018
Press Release

Pago Pago – Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata clarified that U.S. National status will not change despite national news reports of current political debates or proposals in the United States.

“U.S. Nationals are Americans,” said Aumua Amata. “Our people have a fully secure status that is completely unaffected by this current debate and proposal in the U.S. That discussion doesn’t apply to American Samoa. Instead, that is an immigration matter, and since American Samoa is already a U.S. Territory, our people are not immigrants — they are Americans. It is important that there is no confusion about that.”

Congresswoman Amata is responding to questions raised by news reports about the possibility of changing birthright citizenship. She is clarifying clearly that the proposal will not affect the status of American Samoan nationals. American Samoan nationals have a status that was enacted by Congress into a federal law. It cannot be changed by executive order, and in fact, the President did not propose any change at all for US Nationals or American Samoa.

“It has been settled law for decades that the 14th Amendment does not extend birthright citizenship to individuals born within territories of the United States like American Samoa,” continued Congresswoman Amata. “I want to be clear that the President’s remarks simply do not apply to the status of American Samoa’s U.S. Nationals.”

The people of American Samoa have sent the message through their elected officials in the United States Congress and in the American Samoa Government that they do not want the courts or the Federal government to change their status, but to continue allowing citizenship as a choice.

“Our priority has been ensuring that the federal government respects the historic right of the people of American Samoa to self-determination, which allows our people to preserve our distinctive culture, and prevents unfair discrimination against American Samoa’s U.S. Nationals,” concluded Amata. “I recently introduced my bill, HR 5026, which would streamline the process for Nationals who freely wish to transition to Citizenship by removing unnecessary hurdles like wait times and the civics test, along with the possibility of waiving fees and lower costs. My bill was drafted with input and support from the Trump Administration, including both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army, and it is a balanced approach that preserves our people’s full rights as U.S. Nationals.”