24 Dec 2002

American-Arab organisation questions American Samoa's revised travel policies

3:04 pm on 24 December 2002

The American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee (the ADC) has called on the American government to urgently investigate and take action against the American Samoan travel policy that discriminates against people of Middle Eastern origin and others.

ADC President, Ziad Asali, says in a statement that the organisation has written to the Interior Department secretary, Gale Norton, expressing concern over two security alerts issued by the Territory's Government.

The latest, announced last week, bans entry into the territory from citizens of 23 countries including Fiji, unless expressly authorised by the Attorney General, Fiti Sunia.

Mr Asali says American Samoa is a US territory and is bound by the US constitution.

He has urged the Interior Department and the US Justice Department to investigate the American Samoan policies and ensure they do not violate constitutional protections.

Meanwhile the US Government has already stated that the Territory retains substantial control over its borders and immigration.

It says American Samoa's immigration policy is not controlled by the US.