H. R. 6191
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 5, 2008
Mr. Faleomavaega introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to waive certain requirements for naturalization for American Samoan United States nationals to become United States citizens.
The Congress finds the following:
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, persons born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are citizens of the United States at birth. Persons born in the United States territory of American Samoa are nationals of the United States, but not citizens, at birth.
The term national of the United States is defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act to include persons who, though not citizens of the United States, owe permanent allegiance to the United States.
For more than 100 years, American Samoans who are United States nationals have demonstrated their loyalty and allegiance to the United States. On April 17, 1900, the village chiefs of Tutuila ceded their islands to the United States. On July 16, 1904, the village chiefs of Manu’a did the same. On February 20, 1929, the United States ratified the Treaty of Cession of Tutuila and the Treaty of Cession of Manu’a.
Since ratification of the Treaties of Cession, many American Samoans who are United States nationals have joined the United States Armed Forces and fought for the United States during World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf wars, and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, in order for American Samoans who are United States nationals to become United States citizens, they must follow the same procedure as aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence. This procedure requires, among other steps, an application, fingerprinting, an interview, an English language and civics examination, and participation in an oath ceremony. The procedure may take years to complete.
Given that American Samoa’s education system is structured to closely resemble that of public schools in the United States, that courses on United States history, civics, and government are thoroughly taught, that English is the language of public school instruction, and that United States nationals by definition owe permanent allegiance to the United States, it is in the national interest that United States nationals be allowed to become United States citizens by more expeditious means.
Waiver of certain Naturalization Requirements for American Samoan United States nationals to become United States citizens
Chapter 2 of title III of the Immigration and Nationality Act is amended by inserting after section 326 (8 U.S.C. 1437) the following new section:
American Samoan United States nationals excepted from certain requirements
For any person who is born in American Samoa and resides continuously within American Samoa from the date of such person’s birth up to the time of admission to citizenship, the following are waived—
the requirements for naturalization under section 312;
all the requirements as to residence and physical presence within the United States and a particular State for naturalization under section 316; and
Absence from American Samoa
Absence from American Samoa for a continuous period of more than 180 days during the period for which continuous residency is required for admission to citizenship under subsection (a) shall break the continuity of such residence, unless a person described under subsection (a) shall establish to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that such person did not abandon such person’s residence in American Samoa during such period.
The table of contents of the Immigration and Nationality Act is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 326 the following new item:
Sec. 326A. American Samoan United States nationals excepted from certain requirements.