The Rock, left, and The Governor
The Rock, left, and The Governor

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Adobo Chronicles) –  The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has just ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship does not apply to island territories including American Samoa.

Agreeing with the Obama administration’s lawyers, the DC Circuit relied on and even expanded the scope of a set of racially-charged, Colonial-era cases that refer to “savages” and “alien races” to reach their decision.

The cited Insular Cases date back to the early 20th century when the US had just won the Spanish-American War and acquired Puerto Rico and the far-flung new territories of Guam and the Philippines. The US acquired American Samoa in two parts in 1900 and 1904 as part of its continued expansion. But American political leaders had a problem: They wanted the United States to become a colonial power, but they didn’t want to extend constitutional protections to the overwhelmingly nonwhite residents of the new territories. (As one of the friend-of-the-court brief in the current case notes, the Democratic Party’s official platform in 1900 argued that “the Filipinos cannot be citizens without endangering our civilization.”)

American Samoa is one of U.S. territories that also include Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Marianas.

Reacting to the court decision, the American Samoa Fono, the territory’s legislature, unanimously passed an emergency bill requiring all visiting U.S. citizens to apply for an entry visa.  The bill was immediately signed by Governor Lolo Letalu Matalasi Moliga.

“If the U.S. doesn’t want us to be citizens, then we don’t want U.S. citizens to freely come and go on our beautiful islands,” Moliga said.

Related story: Philippines Now Requires Entry Visa For Americans Visiting The Country

Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson, star of the new blockbuster movie ‘San Andreas,’ was scheduled to visit American Samoa over the weekend for some R & R, but had to cancel travel plans. Johnson, a U.S. citizen, is part Samoan. He said he is not upset about the new visa requirement. In fact, he is supportive of it, saying the issue “is not just about fairness or birthright citizenship; it is about U.S. colonial mentality that has no place in our modern society.”

You go, Rock!


  1. First off, not only is this matter rather ridiculous, its with the utmost respect, just nonsense. If i remember correctly, American Samoa IS a United States TERRITORY, therefore being under the protection of the United States. I mean, how wpuld U.S nationals feel if the Unoted States passed an amendment or a bill stating that “ALL” U.S nationals must acquire a visa just to travel in the United States? Where wpuld our Samoan people go? They can’t travel to Hawaii because Hawaii is a state. Another thing is, to Tuna Hunkin, please don’t be giving labels to people and saying that we, U.S citizens think that we have a God-given right to be in American Samoa because of our citizenship status, that is SOOOOO wrong. Last time i checked, American Samoa IS making a living out of Uncle Samz economy.


  2. For the record Ms Hunkin,

    I am also a Samoan born in Samoa, lived in Upolu & Pago, speak read and write the language AND an American. Using the term “gringo” is insulting & racists! E mataga. That is not the faasamoa I grew up with. But please explain. This is a deep/conpkex issue that is made “less” with those type of comments. And gringo?? I am assuming you were being insulting but palagi would be more accurate.
    And free entry? American Samoa is technically a US territory. However, is is unincorporated and an if I remember, the only unorganized territory. It was the decision of the govt but it makes it no less a territory. Just more autonomous.The choice to remain as such has also cost Samoa. It saddens me that an American Samoan who can join the military, die in battle is a national. That is insulting. But if that the decision of our fono than so be it.


  3. Good and its about time. US citizens has this mentality that they have a God-given right to be in American Samoa because they are US citizens. Get yourself an entry visa first gringo – no mo free entry. Samoa first US territory second


    1. Ms Hunkin,your article has stir up the dust,I’m a U.S citizen and I live in American Samoa, if you’re talking about me as a U.S citizen,with that mentality of yours, than I think you’re talking trash, If you want to become a U.S citizen, than do as the law of the land said unless you can not pass a simple test or may be thats why you’re so upset, have a wonderful day and God bless the United Stated of America & my home island of American Samoa


  4. This might be funny to you but it is a serious insult to the Governor and Fono of American Samoa and will impact many people wishing to visit American Samoa. That makes this article SAD, NOT FUNNY.


    1. Mr Newton, I am confused!? How is this an insult to either the Gov or fono? I do agree it’s sad and will impact tourism but the Appellate ruling was on the 14 Amendment birthright issue from colonial times. There are other options. Even if it was successful I would think the next question that comes up is “Does the 14th Amendment apply to territories that are unincorporated and unorganized.” It’s going to take time and people will suffer but I believe it will get better. Maybe I’m naive and yes I have lots of family in Pago


    2. I agree John, this is a sad deal, immature response at best.
      American Samoa can get a lot of benefits from from visiting US citizens and having to go through the visa process can make going to Puerto rico a who lot easer. even staying in Hawaii.

      Liked by 1 person

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