|June 26, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—CONGRESSMAN FALEOMAVAEGA INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO EXPEDITE NATURALIZTION PROCESS FOR U.S. NATIONALS|
Faleomavaega announced today that he has introduced legislation which will
expedite the naturalization process for U.S. nationals. Naturalization
is the process by which an individual becomes a U.S. citizen.
“Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, persons born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are citizens of the United States at birth. Persons born in the U.S. Territory of American Samoa are nationals of the United States, but not citizens, at birth,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“The term ‘national of the United States’ is defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act to include persons who though not citizens of the United States owe permanent allegiance to the United States. For more than 103 years, American Samoans who are U.S. nationals have always demonstrated their loyalty and allegiance to the United States. On April 17, 1900, the village chiefs of Tutuila ceded their islands to the United States. On July 16, 1904, the village chiefs of Manu’a did the same. On February 20, 1929, the United States ratified the Treaty of Cession of Tutuila and the Treaty of Cession of Manu’a.”
“Since ratification of the Treaties of Cession, many American Samoans who are U.S. nationals have also joined the United States Armed Forces and fought for the United States during World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf wars, and most recently in Iraq. However, in order for American Samoans who are U.S. nationals to become U.S. citizens, they must follow the same procedure as permanent resident aliens,” Congressman Faleomavaega said.
“In part, this procedure requires an application, fingerprinting, an interview, an English language and civics examination, and participation in an oath ceremony which in all may take years to complete. Given that American Samoa’s education system is structured to closely resemble that of public schools in the United States, that courses on U.S. history, civics, and government are thoroughly taught, that English is the language of public school instruction, that U.S. nationals by definition owe permanent allegiance to the United States, I believe U.S. nationals should be allowed to become United States citizens in a more timely manner.”
“This is why I have introduced legislation which would expedite this process by allowing a U.S. national who has established residency in any State to naturalize by verifying that he/she is a U.S. national and taking and subscribing to the oath of allegiance. Based on our close ties to the U.S., I believe that U.S. nationals are deserving of this expedited process and I will work closely with my colleagues to gain their support of my bill,” the Congressman concluded.
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