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Tuaolo raises citizenship question for child born to foreign parents

Sen. Tuaolo Manaia Fruean

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A side issue raised by Sen. Tuaolo Manaia Fruean during the Senate Rules Committee meeting last Friday, had to do with foreigners coming to the territory and giving birth to children who then become US Nationals.

Then-Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale was one of the witnesses who testified.

Tuaolo asked if Talauega agreed that a child born of foreign parents shouldn’t be considered a US national but a citizen of the country of origin of the parent.
Talauega replied that while he agrees with Tuaolo’s view point, there are several unclear and unresolved issues when it comes to the relationship between the US and American Samoa. Among them, is the full application of the US Constitution when it comes to American Samoa.

He believes the issue raised by Tuaolo is a subject to be thoroughly discussed in a public venue and he hopes that if a Constitutional Convention is called in the future, this is among the issues on the agenda, because of its importance - and it’s been raised over the years.

Tuaolo asked if American Samoa’s status as an “unorganized and un-incorporated territory” of the US can be used to address this issue.

Talauega said there’s a big chance of using this as an argument, as it has also been used in matters of local culture and land. He said another issue the public needs to discuss is the application of US citizenship to a person born here. However, he will will leave those matters to the Senate to pursue further.