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Overstayer bill goes to Senate after House approval

The territorial House of Representatives has approved in final reading a bill that would subject to a fine, the sponsors of foreigners who are present in the territory beyond their permitted time.

Fine for individual sponsors is set at $10 per day while corporation or business sponsors fines are set at $100 per day.

Revenue collected under this proposal is to be placed in a separate account to be appropriated for capital improvement projects or for the government’s required matching portion of such funds.

Government officials told lawmakers late year that the immigration office has documented over 1,400 overstayers in the territory.

Rep. Faimealelei Allen, one of the bill’s sponsors, said last year that one reason for proposing this measure is to help the government with the high number of overstayers in the territory and 1,400 is “a lot of them.”

He said he is also concerned with the influx of Asians into the territory and it seems the government is unable to control this situation, adding that many of these Asians are taking up local jobs.

The bill now goes to the territorial Senate for review and possible approval. Senators have continued to raise concerns over the increased number of overstayers in the territory since most of these cases are identified in the court system when overstayers commit a crime.