Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has introduced legislation (H.R. 4021) to waive certain naturalization requirements for U.S. nationals living in American Samoa.
“Currently, U.S. nationals are required to follow the same procedures for naturalization to become U.S. citizens, 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 filing of an application, interview, finger printing, test of English proficiency, test of knowledge of U.S. history and government, and requires that an applicant lives within the United States a minimum of three months prior to applying for naturalization.” Faleomavaega said.
“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 anywhere else in the United States?”
“For over 100 years now,” the Congressman continued, “American Samoans have demonstrated their loyalty to the United States with the signing of two Deeds of Cession in 1900 for Tutuila and Aunu’u and in 1904 for 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 Samoa also has a per capita enlistment rate that is among the highest in the nation.”
“Despite the historical relationship and the sacrifices that American Samoans have made on behalf of the United States, U.S. nationals are still required to travel to the States and live there for 3 months in order to apply for naturalization. My legislation will ease this travel burden by allowing U.S. nationals to apply for citizenship directly from American Samoa. After all American Samoa is a territory of the United States.” Faleomavaega said.
“As American Samoans we are considered non-citizen nationals, but have defended the United States in times of war as if we were citizens. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will stand and support this critical legislation which recognizes the sacrifices and contributions by our people to the United States and give U.S. nationals living in American Samoa an option to apply for U.S. citizenship directly from American Samoa.” Faleomavaega concluded.