Congress amended the Nationality Act of 1940

In 1942, Congress amended the Nationality Act of 1940 to make it easier for noncitizens who had fought in World War II and who had been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Services to become American citizens. The 1942 act specifically provided that the noncitizen servicemen could complete the naturalization before a designated immigration and naturalization officer and while outside the borders of the United States. This procedure was in lieu of requiring the applicant to come to the United States and appear before a U.S. district court judge. In August 1945, the U.S. vice consul in Manila was designated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to perform this responsibility. The government of the Philippines, concerned that too many of its nationals would take advantage of this law, soon prevailed on the United States to restrict this opportunity. The U.S. attorney general responded by revoking the vice consul’s authority to process citizenship applications from October 1945 until October 1946. Congress also proceeded to limit the window of opportunity to those who filed petitions by December 1946. Filipino war veterans brought suit, contending that they were entitled to become citizens under the amended Nationality Act. The INS responded by asserting that the plaintiffs’ claims were nonjusticiable because they were political questions. Should the political questions doctrine apply in cases such as this?

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