30 Jul 2011

American Samoa's Hunkin wants feedback on US national status bill

10:55 am on 30 July 2011

American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, wants feedback on a bill he's sponsoring which aims to extend US national status to more people in the territory.

He's seeking comment on the proposed legislation from the Governor and his deputy, the Fono leaders, the Attorney General and senators and representatives.

The proposed bill would grant US national status to: a child who has lived in the territory since five years of age and has graduated from high school; any person who has been legally married to a US national and has continuously resided in American for at least 10 years: and any foreigner who has been physically and legally present in American Samoa for a continuous period of at least 20 years.

Faleomavaega says under the current law, only people born in American Samoa or have a parent who was born in the territory, are eligible to be US nationals.

He said this doesn't do justice to about 4000 long time residents who have lived continuously in American Samoa for 20 years or more, paid taxes, donated to their churches and contributed to society in many ways.