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Overstayer charged with assault and PPD remanded without bail

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICA SAMOA — An overstayer from Samoa who told the court last week that his wife has already filed papers with the Immigration Office to renew his immigration status has been remanded to custody without bail until his next hearing, set for next week.

Victor Siliga appeared twice last week in District Court for a Status Hearing.

He is charged with one count of public peace disturbance and third degree assault, both class A misdemeanors. He was arrested on Sept. 01, 2020 and made his initial appearance in court the following day.

But due to his illegal immigration status, the court ordered that he be remanded in custody without bail to await a follow up hearing on the following morning, Sept. 3rd.

On that day, Siliga failed to appear in court and his attorney, Assistant Public Defender, Ryan Anderson informed the court that Siliga did not answer the phone when he called to inform him of his hearing.

According to court, Siliga was remanded to custody without bail because of his illegal immigration status. But Anderson explained that his client was released after his initial appearance.

A subsequent court hearing was then scheduled for the next day, but when Siliga's name was called, he wasn't present in court. It wasn't until later, towards the end of the court's calendar that day, that Siliga was escorted in by a Territorial Correctional Facility guard.

When the court asked Siliga where he was, the defendant said he was in custody since he was arrested on Sept. 01.

The court told the defendant that the name Siliga was calling numerous times in court, while Siliga was sitting inside a cell at TCF.

When the court asked the defendant about his immigration status, Siliga said his sponsor is off island.

“You told the court during your first hearing that your sponsor is a person by the name of Faamanu Talosaga. Is that right?” the court asked. Siliga said yes, adding that his sponsor is from Ottoville, Tafuna but currently off island for medical treatment.

“You also told the court that you are married, and your wife is working at the cannery,” Sunia continued. Siliga said his wife is a US National.

Sunia looked confused. He asked Siliga, why he needs a sponsor when his wife is a US National.

Siliga said his wife has already filed a petition to the Immigration Office to take over sponsorship from Fa’amanu Talosaga.

During Siliga’s hearing, an immigration officer testified that according to their records, Siliga is not married. He added that the Immigration Office had never received any petition from anybody in an effort to take over Siliga's sponsorship from his current sponsor, Faamanu Talosaga of Tafuna.

The court asked Siliga, “Are you lying to the court?” Siliga only shook his head but didn't say a word.

“Alright, your next hearing is Sept. 17. If you have any papers to prove your situation, bring it with you when you come to court that day. For now, you’re remanded to custody without bail,” the court ordered.