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Has the govt's “short amnesty” program been extended?

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Readers have been asking Samoa News: Has the “short amnesty” program been extended an additional 15 days or is the cut off date still Jan. 8th? And how successful has it been so far?

Samoa News responds:

The “short amnesty” program was declared by provisions of the governor’s Dec. 8th emergency declaration due to the local measles outbreak, giving 30 days — from the date of the declaration — for overstayers to come in to update their immigration status, and show proof of vaccination.

“The biggest challenge is our [short] amnesty. I think we need to be forceful on this and bring these individuals in” and have them immunized, said Lolo during a Sunday morning cabinet briefing on the measles update held at the Emergency Operations Center and aired on KVZK-TV, on Dec. 22, 2019.

Lolo called on Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale during the meeting to find out if there’s a need to extend the short amnesty for an additional 15 days so all these individuals — overstayers — are vaccinated.

Samoa News understands there has been no extension of the program and the cut off date remains Jan. 9, 2010, which is next week. However there continues to be concern within Immigration about the number of overstayers who are not coming forward, especially those from Samoa.

An Immigration official, who did not wish to be named, said that so far there have only been around 40 overstayers from Samoa who have come forward. The majority have been Asians.

The official said their records show around 3,000 overstayers, and they are hoping the governor will extend the amnesty program, while more information can get out to the community about this great opportunity to become ‘legal’.

No number was given on the amount of overstayers overall that have taken advantage of the short amnesty program.

A reminder — to qualify:

1   Immigrant must have a sponsor (bond does not need to be paid when application is submitted — Immigration will call you when it will be processed and bond is needed.)

2   Immigrant must have proof of MMR vaccination

3   Copy of the passport to know when Immigrant first entered Am. Samoa

4   Clearances — hospital and court

5   Notarized form indicating all submitted documents are ‘true’ (Dept. of Commerce can notarize this document)