American Samoans sue for birthright citizenship

HONOLULU (AP) — A lawsuit filed in federal court in Utah seeks to grant U.S. citizenship status to American Samoans.

Lead plaintiff John Fitisemanu, and others who were born in American Samoa, are asking the court for citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which confers citizenship at birth to anyone born in the U.S. The complaint was filed in Salt Lake City today.

American Samoa has been a U.S. territory since 1900. It is the only territory in which residents don't have birthright citizenship, and are instead considered U.S. nationals. Under that status, they cannot vote, run for office, or serve on a jury despite paying American taxes.

The plaintiffs also say they have lost job opportunities because of their status.

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