Vice Speaker requests report on immigration amnesty
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Last week was the deadline for registration under the immigration amnesty program announced late last year by Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.
Last Thursday, Vice Speaker Fetu Fetui urged that the Fono be given a report on this latest amnesty program, which follows one that former Governor Lolo Moliga conducted in 2019.
Fetu said the House is aware of problems with Immigration under the former Chief Immigration Officer and it’s important for lawmakers to get a report on the current amnesty program to assess the influx of foreigners into the territory.
He said from his observations outsiders are flowing in — in large numbers — and he was particularly concerned about those from Asia. Fetu told his colleagues, “If we don’t control the flow of aliens, there’ll come a time when only people from China, Philippines and Indonesia will be selling [goods] at the market, but no Samoans.”
House Speaker Savaii Talavou Ale said the House can call a hearing with the Attorney General, Chief Immigration Officer and members of the Immigration Board as witnesses.
Governor Lemanu announced the amnesty program as part of the emergency declaration for COVID-19 in November.
Registration was to start November 13 and end on December 13, however the deadline was extended to January 13.
GOVERNOR’S NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE FONO
Resolutions to confirm three department directors were introduced in the House last week. The resolutions are now assigned to certain committees for hearings. The three nominees are Lisa Tautalatasi Tuatoo as Director of the Office of Disaster Assistance and Petroleum Management, Aoelua Solomona Vaioletama Aoelua as Director of the Office of Public Information/KVZK-TV and Dr Misipati Salanoa as Director of the Territorial Energy Office,
Both the House and Senate had written to Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga last year inquiring why directors of certain agencies had not been submitted to the Fono for confirmation.
The letters went unanswered but in his State of the Territory address last week, the governor said that he would be submitting the names of unconfirmed directors for confirmation in this session.
Confirmation hearings will be held in the coming weeks. (Details on the nominees in Senate news elsewhere in this issue.