Political Editors / June 14, 2016

Are People From American Samoa American Citizens?

There’s a question of exactly what makes a U.S. citizen.

There’s a question of exactly what makes a person a U.S. citizen. Some Republicans tried to put Ted Cruz out of the running for president because he was born to American parents in Canada. And there even have been questions over Sen. John McCain’s bonafides because he was born at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. And let’s not even bring up the question of anchor babies. However, it’s a question the Supreme Court declined to consider when it declined to hear the suit from a group of American Samoans who argued that the 14th Amendment declares them citizens of the United States.

Currently, people born in American Samoa are considered “non-citizen nationals.” Samoan veterans, who wore the uniform of America and risked life and limb for this nation, cannot vote. At least one’s application to join the Special Forces was denied.

“None of this speaks directly to the question of the meaning of ‘natural born citizen’ in the Constitution but it would have at least opened up the discussion for potential future challenges,” Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw wrote. “It’s a pity that they turned the case down because these issues are going to keep coming up over and over until they do.” While the petition from the group of Samoans have been stymied by the high court — a court that might be picking its cases more deliberately because of the vacancy — there is another solution. Currently, Congress holds the power to confer citizenship. It should pick up the issue.

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