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Dear Editor,

Fa'atulou atu i le mamalu lasilasi o le tatou Atunu'u ae se'i o'u alo atu i se gagana faigofie mo i latou o lo'o fa'atagisia le Malo o Amerika mo le sitiseni.

Greetings to our readers home on island and across the world. Let me ask a question to those that want this citizenship, the plaintiffs in this case. Do you realize what this would do to our rights as a people on our homeland? Has it occurred to you that the Fa'asamoa way will be a thing of the past if this were to become official?

Let me give you an extreme visual. Picture this: In exchange for your sought after citizenship, the US of A can come in and give an ORDER that they WILL build a Coast Guard Field Office in Pago Pago and take over the Bay to conduct testing of new artillery. In building, they CAN and WILL uproot the many residences of Pago lining the harbor that OWN their land and there will be NOTHING that we as a Government can do at that point. IF your case becomes a rule, you will be responsible for the loss of far more than your US National Citizenship.

Riddle me this... the US Citizenship can be attained by paying for the fee and passing the citizenship exam that many other people from other Countries have done and are now citizens. The route you’re fighting for will take years to come to fruition. Why don’t you just pay the fee?

I am a veteran and have served our Country, I am a US Citizen but raised in American Samoa. That is my home! Just like any other US territory, we benefit from the US financially however, we want to keep in place the agreements made by the Deed of Cessation treaties. Our forefathers knew what could become of our islands and made provisions within those treaties to safeguard what is rightfully ours.

As for the remark about thinking of our men & women in the military, before they are sworn into service there is a negotiating process where the Recruiter will explain the contract and recruits will choose how many years of service, Military Occupational Specialty, bonuses and any other special add-ons to entice the recruit.

May I suggest that this would be the perfect opportunity to propose a clause be added to our US National soldiers’ contracts? Add-on will request that as a condition of said contract, the Unites States Armed Forces will pay all necessary fees pertaining to taking the US Citizenship exam ensuring soldier will become US Citizen by the end of their first enlistment.

As for our brothers & sisters in Utah who are waiting for Judge Clark Waddoup’s stay of his ruling to be lifted, I would donate to a fund for payment of your US Citizenship exam now.

You’d fare better by sitting for and passing the Citizenship exam because our Governor, and many people of American Samoa including me will lend our voices to the appeal process and take this case all the way up to the Supreme Court.

This has nothing to do with the 14th Amendment through the Court systems but Everything to do with an act of Congress to nullify or amend the initial Deeds of Cessation. If you are still unclear, please read the ‘amicus curiae’ from the late Honorable Faleomavaega Hunkin (RIP) the last time our islands were brought up in a similar case that ended with dismissal at the Supreme Court.

I’m not looking to argue, just stating my humble opinion respectfully. With that said, Manuia tele le Kerisimasi ma le Tausaga Fou mo outou uma nai o’u tagatanu’u Pele.

Colleen Laupola, US Army Veteran