Tuaua v. United States

Lene Tuaua is a proud American.


But because he was born in American Samoa, the federal government does not recognize him as a citizen.  Instead, he is labeled with the subordinate status of “non-citizen national.”

American Samoa has been a part of the United States for 112 years.  It has the highest rate of military service of any jurisdiction in America, yet Americans born there are required to naturalize in order to be recognized as citizens.

Mr. Tuaua, along with four other people born in American Samoa and the Samoan Federation of America, is defending his family’s right to citizenship in federal court. 

In 2016, an 8-Justice Supreme Court denied review in the case, leaving the issue of citizenship unresolved.  Counsel in the case included Equally American, Theodore B. Olson, who as argued more than 60 cases before the Supreme Court, and prominent American Samoan attorney Charles V. Ala'ilima.

Citizenship is a right, not a privilege. 

  • Meet the Plaintiffs.  Learn more about how Mr. Tuaua and the other plaintiffs are defending the right to citizenship.
  • About the Case.  Learn more about the case, including links to court filings.
  • Share Your Story. Have you been denied citizenship? Tell us your story.
  • FAQ.  Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the case.
  • SUPPORT.  Donate now to support equal citizenship in U.S. territories.  

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Photo credit: Lemala Photgraphy, courtesy CAC

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