Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has introduced H.R. 6191, legislation to waive certain naturalization requirements for U.S. nationals living in American Samoa who wish to become U.S. citizens.
“Currently, U.S. nationals are required to follow the same procedures for naturalization, or U.S. citizenship, as legal permanent residents, or green card holders, who come to the U.S. from every nation in the world. These procedures, which may take longer than a year to complete, include the filing of an application, interview, finger printing, test of English proficiency, test of knowledge of U.S. history and government, and require that an applicant live within the United States for a period of time before that may become U.S. citizens.”
“I find that many of these procedures are unnecessary for U.S. nationals living in American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said. “For example, why should a U.S. national living in American Samoa be required to take a test on U.S. history, government, civics, or English proficiency when our public school system is the same as the United States?”
“Why should U.S. nationals living in American Samoa be required to travel to the continental U.S. or Hawaii and stay there for at least three months before they can apply for naturalization? This is a real financial burden for our people and, because American Samoa is a U.S. Territory which pays its allegiance to the United States, our people should not be subjected to this requirement.”
“For over 100 years now,” the Congressman said, “American Samoans have demonstrated their loyalty to the United Sates with ratification of two Deeds of Cession in 1900 (Tutuila and Aunu’u) and in 1904 (Manu’a) which govern the political relationship between the United States and American Samoa. American Samoans have also joined the U.S. Armed Forces and fought and died for the United States during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf wars, and most recently the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“American Samoans have also contributed to the economies of other States such as California, and I want to thank Assemblyman Warren T. Furutani of California for introducing a resolution in the California Assembly in support of this legislation and also recognizing the contribution made by American Samoans to the economic success, rural growth and urban development of California.”
“I am hopeful that my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will also stand in support of H.R. 6191 which recognizes the contribution of American Samoans to the United States, and which will give U.S. nationals living in American Samoan an option to apply for U.S. citizenship directly from American Samoa,” Faleomavaega concluded.