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The issue of American Samoans’ citizenship is still unclear.

A federal judge said American Samoans should be considered U.S. citizens, not U.S. nationals. However, on Friday another federal judge issued a stay on that order until the issue is resolved on appeal. Being a U.S. national means that American Samoans cannot vote in U.S. elections or hold certain government jobs. The government’s position on appeal is the courts cannot make citizenship decisions, only Congress can. The government of American Samoa agreed with the U.S. government, saying that “imposed” U.S. citizenship would violate American Samoa’s self-determination.

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