Why is citizenship important?

A:

Citizenship would mean that American Samoans would be able to enjoy the same rights and privileges as all other Americans, no matter where they choose to live or visit.  People born in American Samoa who are classified by the federal government as so-called “non-citizen nationals” are treated differently than other Americans who are recognized as citizens.  For example, when traveling to independent Samoa, “non-citizen nationals” must purchase a special visitor’s permit not required of visiting U.S. citizens.  In addition, they face greater difficulties when sponsoring foreign national family members to immigrate to or visit the mainland United States, are ineligible for certain jobs at the state and federal level, and are denied the right to vote if they live stateside.  This unequal treatment is especially unfair to children growing up in American Samoa, who should have the same world of opportunities available to them as all other children born within the United States.  If this case is successful, American Samoans would no longer have to go through the burdensome and expensive naturalization process to be recognized as U.S. citizens.

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published this page in Citizenship FAQ 2013-03-09 07:15:38 -0500