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ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Congressional Delegate From Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.


March 3, 1999


Congressman Robert A. Underwood today introduced legislation which would prevent aliens from seeking political asylum in Guam.

"This move is pursuant to a series of conversations I have had with federal officials in the INS, as well as the Coast Guard, regarding the dimensions of this problem," Congressman Underwood said, adding that as many as 700 illegal aliens from Mainland China have come into Guam last year. Since the start of this year, 157 have been apprehended by INS and Guam officials. Without the funds to detain the aliens, the INS recently proposed to release them into the general public without assistance, but despite the strain, the Government of Guam announced it would use its own resources to detain the aliens until they are adjudicated by INS.

"This is a very serious concern because the dimensions of this problem are very different from the traditional type illegal migration," he said. "It is part of an orchestrated effort by organized criminals to trade in human misery and the political asylum provisions of the immigration law are a loophole that actually has become an incentive for these organizations."

Congressman Underwood has learned that Chinese crime syndicates charge would-be immigrants as much as $8,000 to $10,000 to go to Guam and $35,000 to go to North America and then hold them in what amounts to indentured servitude. "Then what happens is that they actually train these people to claim political asylum," Underwood said. "The legislation I introduced closes the loophole by removing the opportunity for aliens to apply for or claim political asylum in Guam."

Congressman Underwood’s bill also would require illegal aliens caught on Guam to be adjudicated within 30 days and the Government of Guam to be reimbursed for any expenses incurred to detain illegal aliens.

"This is admittedly very ambitious legislation and I am hoping that through it we can attract a lot of attention," he added.

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