Tuesday, December 17, 2019

How Birthright Citizenship Could Threaten the "Samoan Way"

Providing additional context to an ImmigrationProf post (and update) on the granting of citizenship to non-citizen nationals of the U.S. from Samoa last week: NPR reports that not all residents of Samoa support the push for birthright citizenship.  Many American Samoans worry that it might unravel fa'asamoa, or the Samoan way.

Sean Morrison, former president of the American Samoa Bar Association, laid out the concerns in a paper for the Hastings Constitutional Law review.

"The communal land and matai systems are such pillars of the cultural system that there is a widespread fear that any change to the political structure may affect their durability. Once the system of land ownership is put in jeopardy, 'the whole fiber, the whole pattern of the Samoan way of life will be forever destroyed.' ... Similarly, a threat to the matai hierarchy would undermine the very social fabric of the nation, which would in turn dissolve the aiga."




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