US appeals court in Denver eyes American Samoa citizenship

  • FILE - This July 2002 file photo shows a sailing ship in the harbor at Pago Pago, American Samoa. Many residents of American Samoa are concerned that a federal judge’s recent ruling in Utah, saying those born in the U.S. territory should be recognized as U.S. citizens, could threaten “fa’a Samoa,” the Samoan way of life, which includes cultural traditions like prayer curfews, communal living and a belief that the islands’ lands should stay in Samoan hands. (AP Photo/David Briscoe, File)

DENVER — Whether people who live in territories controlled by the U.S. automatically become citizens under a constitutional amendment that secured citizenship for freed slaves was a major focus of arguments Wednesday in a federal appeals court in Denver in a case seeking citizenship rights for residents of American Samoa.