WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court says people from the South Pacific islands of American Samoa do not have a right to U.S. citizenship simply because they were born on the U.S. territory.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday rejected a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal laws that make those born in American Samoa U.S. nationals, but not citizens like those born in Puerto Rico and other territories.
The three-judge panel said the Constitution does not automatically extend birthright citizenship to the nation’s self-governing political territories.
One American Samoa-born plaintiff in the lawsuit said he wanted to become a law enforcement officer in California. Because he isn’t a citizen, he cannot.
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