Lolo admin to submit amnesty bill in Jan.
The Lolo Administration is working on a draft proposal of its amnesty program with the goal of submitting it next year when the 3rd regular session of the Fono convenes in January, and they are hopeful the registration process will be implemented by the end of this month.
Samoa News has received public inquiries about the status of the administration’s proposed amnesty program, which was first revealed by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga during his state of the territory address earlier this year in January. Some members of the community have wondered if the governor is ever going to move on the proposal, since it was not presented to the Fono when the 2nd regular session ended Sept. 29th
Responding to Samoa News questions, the governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira said that before Lolo left the territory last week, he informed both Acting Attorney General Eleasalo Ale and Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop, “to prepare to present to the governor the final policies for the implementation of the Amnesty Program,” and "it is the governor's intention to start the program before the end of the year."
Iulogologo is accompanying Lolo to a Western Governor’s Association meeting in New Mexico.
“The Attorney General's Office had issued draft policies for the Amnesty Program process. There were concerns on some of the policies which may not encourage foreigners to access the Amnesty Program,” Iulogologo said via e-mail from the mainland. He did not provide examples of the concerns or reveal any details of the draft policies.
He did confirm that the amnesty legislation has been drafted by the AG’s Office and the governor intends to transmit this piece of legislation to the Fono in January. However, “the Registration Process will be implemented hopefully before the end of November,” Iulogologo said.
When asked if the administration plans to hire additional staff to implement this new program, the governor's executive assistant replied, “At this juncture no new employees will be hired as sufficient new employees have been hired for the Immigration Office to abate the incurring of overtime.”
He didn’t respond to the question regarding the cost of the program and its implementation, but under the fiscal year 2014 approved budget, $100,000 is allocated to the Amnesty Program Development, which is listed under the Special Program budget category.
The only details available so far about this program is information revealed in the governor’s letter this past June to V.C. Chu, the director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Honolulu, which is one of the representative offices of the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the US.
The letter, which followed meetings between Lolo and Chu, states in part the proposed program will provide a window of six months for all undocumented immigrants living illegally in the territory to get their immigration papers in order, or risk being deported after the Amnesty Period expires