On August 11, the federal government filed this brief in Tuaua v U.S.A., in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. The issue is whether the Constitution requires that persons born in U.S. possessions be considered citizens. Persons born in American Samoa are considered U.S. nationals, not citizens. The government interprets the Fourteenth Amendment to mean that only individuals born in a state are constitutionally entitled to be considered U.S. citizens.
The Fourteenth Amendment says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The plaintiffs argue that persons born in American Samoa are citizens. The federal government disagrees. By statute, Congress has said that persons born in all U.S. possessions except American Samoa are citizens, but Congress has never taken that step for American Samoa.
Under the federal government’s theory, even persons born in the District of Columbia aren’t constitutionally required to be recognized as citizens.
The plaintiffs’ reply brief is due September 8.