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Lemanu forwards new Immigration Board nominations to Fono

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga
Vice Speaker had questioned when this would happen

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga has appointed five new members of the seven-member ASG Immigration Board and the nominations were introduced last Saturday in both the Senate and House during their respective sessions.

As previously reported by Samoa News, lawmakers were to convene this past Saturday (Feb. 27), and the upcoming Saturday, Mar. 6 so the current 1st Regular session of the 37th Legislature will officially end at the close of business on Mar. 12th — completing the required 45-session days in accordance with the constitution and law.

The board nominees, according to the governor, are Misi Tauai, Faafetai Ialiva, Fiamatai Leomiti, Sen. Satele Aliita’i Lili’o — who represents the Senate on the board — and Rep. Vaetasi Tuumolimoli Moliga — who represents the House of Representatives on the board.

“All of the nominees possess the requisite knowledge and understanding of the role of the Immigration Board in protecting our borders and preserving economic opportunities for the people of American Samoa,” the governor said in his Feb. 19th nomination letter to the Fono.

According to the governor, Tauai’s term expires in 2022, the terms for Ialiva and Vaetasi expire in 2023, Leomiti’s term expires in 2024 while Satele Lili’o’s terms expires in 2025.

The nominations have been assigned to the appropriate committees in both the Senate and House for confirmation hearings, and the issue of the influx of foreigners — especially Asians — into the territory is expected to be raised by lawmakers, as they did in the past years as well.

The governor’s nominations come at a time when several businesses and individuals have questioned when the new Administration — which took the helm of government on Jan. 3rd — would appoint new members to the Immigration Board.

Two weeks ago House Vice Speaker, Fetu Fetui Jr., informed his colleagues that new members of the Immigration Board have been appointed by the governor but have yet to be submitted to the Fono for confirmation as required by law.

In 2013, the Fono approved legislation, which originated from the Governor’s Office at the time — increasing the number of board members from five to seven and that the board members are nationals or “citizens” of the United States, and of American Samoan ancestry. The governor signed that measure into law.