18 Jan 2012

Immigration concerns fuel American Samoa debate

3:15 pm on 18 January 2012

Some American Samoans are concerned about an immigration intiative being proposed by the territory's US congressman to allow foreigners to become US nationals and hope it won't be tabled.

One of Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin's bills lets foreigners who have lived in the territory for 20 years with permanent resident status to become US nationals.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says opposing views ranged from wanting the territory to have stricter controls, to stop any influx of foreigners from Asia, while others feared overpopulation and land loss.

"The main concern of those who oppose the bill was that it is going to create problems for native American Samoans. One of the concerns is that people from the outside will flock here, and this will result in American Samoans being dominated by outsiders."

Monica Miller says another bill allowing US nationals from American Samoa to apply for US citizenship without having to leave the territory is gaining support.