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Gov makes official statement about amnesty program

As promised during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, along with Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga appeared Thursday night on state-run KVZK-TV to officially inform the community about the launch of the Immigration Amnesty Program, which will make it legal for undocumented foreigners who qualify for the program to reside in the territory.


Lolo, who delivered the speech in Samoan, explained the program, as well as the registration period which begins Feb. 18-Mar. 14. He urged all undocumented residents to take up this opportunity to correct their legal status.


He said it’s never good to live in fear of being deported due to the status of a person’s immigration papers.


Lemanu delivered the English address, saying that it’s been a year since the new administration took office, and since last January, the administration have been assessing many areas of government “that we feel need improvement, so we can best serve you, the people of American Samoa.”


“While we have made tremendous progress in many areas of our government, there are some we still need to continue working on, and one of those is immigration,” he said. “The immigration problems, are without any doubt, very serious.”


He said the administration is aware that many foreigners are in the territory without proper immigration papers. “I’m sure many are outstanding, contributing members of the community,” he said, adding that many came into the territory legally.


“...but for whatever reason, their immigration papers have expired and they have since been living in fear of the law,” he said and noted that an immigration amnesty program has been created with the registration to begin next month at specific locations.


“We want you to make it right for your children, your family and yourself,” he said.


Both Lolo and Lemanu stated that the government will publish more information on the registration sites, times and other data in the newspaper (see yesterday’s Samoa News edition) and broadcast information on radio and television. (See Samoa News edition of Jan. 15 for more information)