11 Jul 2007

U.S. looks at options over impact of federal legislation on territories

2:46 pm on 11 July 2007

The U.S. Department of Interior is to look at options on how to ensure that U.S. territories are not adversely affected by federal legislation.

This follows concerns being voiced by the American Samoan leaders that changes were forced on the territory by the U.S. over the minimum wage act and that the same could happen again over proposals on a federal immigration system.

The deputy assistant secretary of the Interior, David Cohen, says he and the Interior Secretary recently visited American Samoa to discuss the issue.

He says he thinks they can always do a better job of making sure that the concerns of the territories are well known but it's difficult in a country with 300 million people.

"Generally, policy is made for the 50 states but this policy also applies to the territories often and sometimes it's hard to get the attention of members of Congress and also officials in the executive branch, to make sure that we're not inadvertently doing damage to the territories."

Mr Cohen says he it's too early to comment on what options are being looked at, at this point.