In 1973, while living in Pago Pago, working for the High Court of American Samoa, a territorial budgetary obligation of the U.S. Department of Interior, workers were advised that, for the century American Samoa had belonged to the U.S. Navy and then the United States, the Samoans were nationals, not citizens. American Samoans could and did volunteer for the military in significant numbers, and could and did immigrate to the United States proper. But they were not citizens. Tutuila, Samoa was deeded to the U.S. Navy about 1878. American Samoa was neither purchased nor conquered. An acquisition status shared only with Texas. The map is from NOAA showing migration patterns of sea turtles.
About 2000, in Stamford Connecticut , while attending and chaperoning a cottage meeting of an attractive single teen mom from Central America, the term anchor baby was demonstrated. Fluently bi-lingual, she had explained her father brought her to New England while barely teen ager and had her impregnated, so her baby would be born in Connecticut and be an American citizen. Ouch. Never mind the difficulty of getting any education with a baby in arms, no father in sight, living on welfare, the grand father’s goal was to get an anchor baby.
Occasionally, reports surfaced of expectant mothers who would fly or travel to the United States, from Mexico, or China, or Lebanon, to have their babies. Mothers only needed visitors visas, readily obtainable at U.S. consulates. These travels served two purposes, to obtain superior American health care for the delivery, and to qualify the baby as born in the U.S.A. and hence a citizen. These mothers were in the U.S. legally.
In Lebanon, during the cold war many families and professionals, began planning an exit strategy from Beirut, in case the region blew up. So families began selecting careers which could be transferred from country to country. For instance, law is very localized, in that knowledge of the law in Lebanon would not be the same, nor readily transferable, to any place else, including England or the United States. However, medical and health careers are readily transferable. As are computer technology, knowledge of English as a second language, arts, finance, construction and merchandising. In addition to planning careers, as families grew, the expectant mothers were flown to the United States for their delivery of the baby on American soil. And so it went for a generation. The turmoil finally arrived, when Lebanon had to be abandoned. So when the religious and regional wars in the middle east did reach into Lebanon, the U.S. State Department arranged for airliners to fly American citizens into and out of Lebanon, estimating a rescue of 3 or 4 thousand Americans. To State’s underestimate, five times that number arrived at the airport with their U.S. Passports. The American native born children enabled their parents to obtain U.S. citizenship, by a process called chain immigration. That was forward thinking.
C-Span reported as of October 30, 2018, the following ‘’Vice President Mike Pence remarked on President Trump’s intention to review birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. “What the president has made clear is that we are looking at action that would reconsider birthright citizenship,” said Mr. Pence at a Politico event, adding that the Supreme Court has never ruled on the amendment’s language and whether it applies specifically to people in the country illegally.’’
In the week of Halloween in October, since the issue of 14th amendment birthright citizenship was announced, a Google web search of these words gives 14 million hits. The headlines overwhelmingly claim that the birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Too bad the legal scholars, professors, and journalists, were unaware of American Samoan’s birth status as nationals and not citizens. That birthright citizenship is not applied to all legally on American soil. and these exclusions are not recent, are not new, and are not applied to every baby, is a fact. As a policy issue, whether the citizenship at birth is a privilege which should be offered to illegal or temporary occupants or visitors, is open to discussion, but in accordance with century and a half application, it is not settled in the Constitution, or by the 14th Amendment.
Some laws relevant to Samoans’ status as nationals are in these cases and laws, and articles cited by Wikipedia. Mendoza, Moises (October 11, 2014). How a weird law gives one group American nationality but not citizenship. (PRI). Those nationals — born on the 55,000-person US island territory in the South Pacific — receive US passports, can serve in the military and work and live on the mainland United States. ‘U.S. nationals born in American Samoa sue for citizenship”. Associated Press. NBC News. March 28, 2018. 8 U.S.C. § 1408; Tuaua v. United States, 788 F.3d 300 (D.C. Cir. 2015); Mohammadi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 782 F.3d 9, 15 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (“The sole such statutory provision that presently confers Unites States nationality, upon non-citizens is 8 U.S.C. § 1408.”); Matter of Navas-Acosta, 23 I&N Dec. 586 (BIA 2003) (same); see also § 1483 ibid. (“Restrictions on loss of nationality”); §§– 1501-1503, § 1252(b)(5) (“Treatment of nationality claims”).
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