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.