American Samoa culture plays role in US citizenship ruling

Filipo Ilaoa, left, and Bonnelley Pa’uulu pose with the flag of American Samoa Jan. 10, 2020, at the American Samoa government office in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, File)

A ship sails into the harbor at Pago Pago, American Samoa, in 2002. (AP Photo/David Briscoe, File)

HONOLULU — In a decision citing American Samoa cultural traditions, those born in the U.S. territory shouldn’t have citizenship automatically forced on them, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.