21 May 2012

Man in limbo in American Samoa as US immigration officials refuse entry

10:41 am on 21 May 2012

A man has been stuck in American Samoa since January when United States immigration officials refused him entry after what was meant to be a two week holiday.

Mikhail Sebastian was born in Azerbaijan and became stateless when the former Soviet Union collapsed.

The 39-year-old entered the US in 1996 on a business visa and had lived and worked there until he traveled to American Samoa for a visit.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says he was stopped from boarding the plane back to the States because US Immigration refused him entry, and says he's been in limbo ever since.

"Everyday he checks into the attorney general's office, and he goes into check emails and hangs out at the local McDonalds restaurant. People have been good to him, a family in Nu'uuli village has been housing him since January."

Monica Miller says the case has been complicated by the fact that he made a one day trip to Samoa during his visit, which US immigration officials see as him deporting himself.

Mr Sebastian is pinning his hopes on an application for asylum in the United States.