26 Jan 2010

Faleomavaega denies American Samoa federalisation plans

2:56 pm on 26 January 2010

The American Samoan delegate in the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says suggestions that he wants to federalise the territory's immigration and customs systems are not true.

American Samoa is the only US territory where customs and immigration are not under US control.

The General Accountability Office, which is the investigative arm of the US Congress, interviewed government and private sector officials about the capability of American Samoa to operate its own immigration and customs systems.

Faleomavaega says he wanted to have the study to test the territory's capacity.

"The concern that I had is whether or not we have focussed enough on really understanding what's going on there in the collection of our customs and duties and whether we have the resources to do this important function as part of the government."

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he wants to ensure the territory can enforce its laws.