26 Sep 2012

More time given for lawsuit filed by American Samoans

8:45 pm on 26 September 2012

The United States Government has been given more time to respond to a citizenship lawsuit filed by a group of residents from American Samoa.

The lawsuit, which was filed in July by five individuals and a non-profit organisation, says anyone born in American Samoa should automatically have US citizenship.

The US Government's answer to the complaint was due this week, but it has been granted an extension of time, until October the 17th.

One of the lawyers acting for the complainants, Charles Alailima, says it could be April next year before the case is resolved, and that is a best case scenario.

He says he will not have an idea of how long it might take until he sees the federal government's response.

"Once the response is filed we'll know what the justice department and the state department think about the issue. We're hoping that this becomes really a legal issue in that they don't object to any of the facts relating to this. That would make the case move alot faster if it just boils down to a legal issue."

Charles Alailima says obtaining automatic citizenship would not mean American Samoa is governed differently or has to change any of its laws.