Los Angeles Times

Q&A: American Samoans aren't actually US citizens. Does that violate the Constitution?

They are called American Samoans. But many residents of the U.S. territory - an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean - don't feel American. That's because people born in American Samoa are not U.S. citizens unless one of their parents is a citizen.

A lawsuit filed in Utah last month against the State Department and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeks to change the American Samoans' status from noncitizen U.S. nationals to citizens.

The State Department's policy and practice of refusing to recognize birthright citizenship of people born in American Samoa "violates the Fourteenth Amendment," according to the lawsuit. This article of the U.S. Constitution states that all people born in the U.S. "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof," are citizens.

"That is not dependent on congressional grace," said Neil Weare, the attorney leading the suit and president of Equally American, a nonprofit group that advocates for

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