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The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal in a case seeking to grant U.S. citizenship to people born in American Samoa, a territory occupied by the United States. The court also refused to reconsider overturning a series of racist U.S. Supreme Court rulings known as the Insular Cases, that have been used for over a century to legally justify discrimination against people in American Samoa, Puerto Rico and other U.S.-occupied territories. American Samoa is the only U.S.-occupied territory where people are not granted U.S. citizenship at birth. People may apply for citizenship only if they relocate to the U.S. mainland — an immigration process that can take years and is not guaranteed. One of the plaintiffs, John Fitisemanu, said in a statement, “It’s a punch in the gut … I was born on U.S. soil, have a U.S. passport and pay my taxes like everyone else. But because of a discriminatory federal law, I am not recognized as a U.S. citizen.”
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