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Concurrent resolution supports U.S. Court of Appeals ruling

Amata and Gov. Lemanu

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A House of Representatives’ Concurrent Resolution which throws the support of the Legislature and the people of American Samoa behind the Federal Court of Appeals’ decision respecting the right of American Samoans to retain their current statutory birthright status as US nationals was introduced in the House of Representative last week.

The concurrent resolution was sent to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep Vaetasi Tu’umolimoli Saena Moliga, for review.

Speaker of the House Savali Talavou Ale stated that in order to have the Fono members working together to support this important issue for American Samoa, both chambers need to pass this as a concurrent resolution to show to the people of Territory of American Samoa that they are standing together in support of this issue.

The resolution, which was recommended by Congresswoman Uifa’atali Aumua Amata, notes that the power to make rules and regulations for US territories involves political questions reserved to the US Congress and not within the judicial power of the federal courts unless “jurisdiction is established in a case and controversy under federal law.”

The measure invites those representing special interests supporting the lawyers in the Fitisemanu’s case to visit American as Samoa to meet with elected and traditional leaders and people in the villages, and if convinced the people want US citizenship, “to work within the existing governmental processes to hold a referendum on the subject.”

The measure also expresses support of legislation offered by Congresswoman Uifa’atali to streamline and speed up the process for American Samoans to attain citizenship.