3 May 2007

American Samoa's chief immigration officer says overstayer problem due to sponsors

10:39 am on 3 May 2007

American Samoa's Chief Immigration officer says that sponsors are partly responsible for the large number of overstayers currently in the territory.

Ufuti Faafetai Ieremia told a House hearing that in many cases, local sponsors are stopping the people they bring in from returning to their countries when their permits are up.

Ufuti put the number of overstayers at 800.

He says that when immigration officers visit homes of sponsors, they are told that the alien has returned but are often not telling the truth.

He said the reason why overstayers numbers are high is because sponsors do not follow the law.

The Chief Immigration officer says the law dictates that the alien must reside with his or her sponsor but a lot of times when they try to track people in the villages of their sponsors they can't find them.

Ufuti praised Aoloau village for co-operating with the immigration office because it regularly reports in outsiders seen in their village.