Am. Samoa Immigration Board May Suspend Entry Permits

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Vice chairman says local sponsors to blame for problems

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 30, 2013) – Vice Chairman of the Immigration Board, Senator Tuiasina Esera is looking at "temporarily suspending" the entry permits for Asians and other foreigners into American Samoa, while the entry permits for those of the Independent State of Samoa will be exempted from this move.

He told Samoa News last Friday this is the proposal he has in mind, so the Immigration Board can focus on the current overload of files they have on foreigners; and, at the same time, they can maybe account for how many Asians are currently in the territory, because he’s certain that there’s no accurate count at the moment.

Another issue the Vice Chair is vocal about is the current statute allowing foreigners who are permanent residents to sponsor other foreigners. "This law should change, we should not allow Asians to sponsor, because this will be the gate for them to come in and take over our land, businesses and so much more.

"Again these amendments if approved into law will not apply to those from Samoa who are permanent residents," Tuiasaina said.

He told Samoa News that this is in the "works" and this was prompted because there are too many Asians in the territory.

The Vice Chair said that although what he’s stating may sound discriminating, he believes we can discriminate with our immigration laws because we are trying to protect our land, our people and our government.

However, he said the problems of "too many Asians" in the territory is due to our "own people" who sponsor and allow these Asians to enter into the territory.

The Vice Chair stated the latest raid conducted by Immigration Officers uncovered six Asians living in one house, and while five had current ID cards, one had his ID expired and the Immigration Office was working with the sponsor to sort this out.

Tuiasaina told Samoa News that currently the Immigration Board is looking at different ways to stop Asians from entering the territory, because there are just too many on island.

"Another way the Immigration Board is looking at is to limit the numbers of foreigners to be sponsored by an American Samoan," he stated.

He said the Immigration Office will continue to raid businesses or homes, which they believe house or employ illegal foreigners and for people to call 633-4163 if they suspect illegal foreigners.

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