WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 5, 2016) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates supports the recent court challenge to undo a historical injustice and reverse the racist precedents that restrict the right to US citizenship of American Samoans.
This Monday, attorneys with the We The People Project filed a petition for the Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision in Tuaua v. United States. This case challenged the century-old precedents set by the “insular cases”, which used racist conceptions of territorial Americans’ cultural competency to justify stripping territories of their citizenship. Today, American Samoa remains the only territory in the United States where those born on the island are not automatically US citizens.
“We applaud the We The People Project for spearheading this effort and proudly stand behind our Samoan brothers and sisters in their fight for justice, equal representation, and voting rights,” said Leslie Moe-Kaiser, OCA National President. “Over the past year, OCA leadership has met with dozens of citizenship advocates in both American Samoa as well as the continental United States. These conversations have made clear to us that providing equal citizenship rights is not only an important issue to the Samoan community, but also the American community at-large. That is why our National Board passed a resolution last November in support of American Samoa’s right to choose to become US citizens and the preservation of ‘fa’samoa’, the ‘Samoan Way’.”
“Citizenship continues to be denied to territorial Americans based on faulty precedents that say that territorial Americans are inferior to white Americans, and are unable to understand or adopt Western law, principles, or culture,” continued Moe-Kaiser. “Our country must be committed to the principles of equality that are contained in the US Constitution, and this injustice clearly runs against those principles. We are confident that if the Supreme Court hears this case, they will undo these racist precedents set by the Court over 100 years ago and restore the right to citizenship for all Americans.”
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).