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In 1903 the US Supreme Court refused to say that Isabel González was a cit­i­zen of the Unit­ed States. Then again, they said, she wasn’t a exact­ly an immi­grant either. And they said that the US ter­ri­to­ry of Puer­to Rico, Isabel’s home, was for­eign to the Unit­ed States in a domes­tic sense.” Since then, the US has cleared up at least some of the con­fu­sion about US ter­ri­to­ries and the sta­tus of peo­ple born in them.

But, more than a hun­dred years lat­er, there is still a US ter­ri­to­ry that has been left in lim­bo: Amer­i­can Samoa. It is the only place on earth that is US soil, but peo­ple who are born there are not auto­mat­i­cal­ly US cit­i­zens. When we vis­it Amer­i­can Samoa, we dis­cov­er that there are some pret­ty sur­pris­ing rea­sons why many Amer­i­can Samoans pre­fer it that way.