11 Mar 2013

American Samoa senate rejects immigration board measure

11:22 am on 11 March 2013

In American Samoa, the Senate has rejected an administration bill to increase members of the Immigration board from 5-9.

Concerns about the nationality make-up of the board and the divided position from the government on the bill are the main reasons that the bill was killed.

13 senators voted to reject the legislation at the recommendation of the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Soliai Tuipine.

Deputy attorney general Salo Ale raised concerns with a provision of the bill that does not specify the make-up of four of the nine members of the Immigration Board.

At present all five Immigration Board members are nationals of the United States of American Samoa ancestry.

But the new measure says at least five of the members shall be nationals or citizens of the US or American Samoa but does not specify the nationality requirements of the other four members.

Senators worry that this provision would open up the immigration board to individuals who are not of American Samoa ancestry.