(CN) – U.S. courts have no say over whether Taiwanese residents deserve to be U.S. nationals, the D.C. Circuit ruled. Judge Brown said determining their nationality would force judges “to trespass into a controversial area of U.S. foreign policy in order to resolve a question the executive branch intentionally left unanswered for over 60 years: who exercises sovereignty over Taiwan.”
Brown explained: “America and China’s tumultuous relationship over the past 60 years has trapped the inhabitants of Taiwan in political purgatory. During this time the people (of) Taiwan have lived without any uniformly recognized government. In practical terms, this means they have uncertain status in the world community, which infects the population’s day-to-day lives. This pervasive ambiguity has driven Appellants to try to concretely define their national identity and personal rights.”
In 2006, a group of Taiwanese residents and members of the Taiwan Nation Party sought U.S. passports. That request evolved into a demand to be considered U.S. nationals, with all related rights and privileges, including passports.
The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., agreed with the district court that the political question doctrine bars U.S. courts from considering their claims.