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Short amnesty for overstayers extended for 30 more days

Photo of MMR vaccine and needle
Governor's goal is to get all the residents of American Samoa vaccinated"

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga will be extending for 30-days the “short amnesty” program for overstayers in American Samoa to correct their immigration status, under a proposed amendment to his Dec. 8th emergency declaration due to measles.

This is according to the Governor’s executive assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira in response to Samoa News inquiries yesterday morning on whether the governor plans to extend the “short amnesty” for an additional 15-days as Lolo noted during a cabinet briefing/measles update two Sundays ago.

Samoa News received more public inquiries this week on whether the governor will extend the program, since today is the last day to apply, based on the provision of his Dec. 8th declaration.

Iulogologo said the amendment to the Dec. 8th declaration includes the “extension of the Amnesty Program for an additional 30 days which then extends the deadline to February 6, 2020 for overstayers to come in and register, thus according them the privilege to get their documents in order to avoid deportation at the end of the amnesty period.”

“Of significant concern for the Governor is getting all undocumented immigrants to be vaccinated so we are affective in controlling the spread of measles in the Territory,” Iulogologo pointed out. “It is the Governor's goal to get all the residents of American Samoa vaccinated.”

The amended declaration was to have come out late yesterday or early today. At press time yesterday afternoon, the amended declaration was not yet released.

Numbers presented during the last two cabinet briefings on the measles update gave an “estimate” of 3,000 overstayers, whom were counted on the list of those to be vaccinated by the Health Department. Health officials say that’s the estimate given to them by ASG officials.

A major requirement under the short amnesty is for the immigrant to get vaccinated and present records with their application and other required documents to the Immigration Office.

As of Dec. 27, 2019, a total of 341 individuals — adults and children — have applied for the program, according to graphics of an ASG “Amnesty Summary Report”, which states that Samoa has the highest number of applicants at 117, followed by the Philippines 83; China 53; Vietnam 50; and the rest from other countries, such as Tonga, New Zealand, and Fiji.

The summary report, which shows that of the total applicants, 44% are female and 56% are male — also provides an overall look at villages where the applicants currently reside. The top three villages are Nu’uuli with 75; Tafuna with 51; and Pavaiai with 30.