10 Apr 2008

US adoptions of Samoan orphans spiked in 2003, says report

3:56 pm on 10 April 2008

A new U.S State Department report shows a drop in the number of immigration visas issued to orphans from Samoa.

The report, which covers fiscal years 1998 to 2007 for various countries, shows the highest number of immigration visas issued for orphans from Samoa was in 2003 with 45 visas, followed by 34 visas in 2004.

There has been controversy over adoption plans.

A Utah-based agency, Focus on Children, or FOC, is alleged in 2003 to have conspired with other co-defendants, including two citizens of Samoa, to make money by taking children away from birth parents in Samoa.

The two Samoan defendants, Tagaloa Ieti and Julie Tuiletufuga, have yet to be officially charged at the federal court in Salt Lake City, as they are still in Apia.

The U.S. has no extradition treaty with Samoa, and a lawyer in Apia has maintained that Ieti and Tuiletufuga are innocent.

The FOC and the co-defendants were charged in March last year but still no date is been set for a trial.