Bill would deport felons from American Samoa

Retired American Samoan Judge, Senator Logoai Siaki Logoai, has sponsored a bill that would require any foreign nationals in the territory to be immediately deported. 

The proposed measure targets felonies, which are the most serious type of criminal offence and involve serious physical harm to victims and can also include offences such as white collar crimes and fraud. 

“The territory will not tolerate persons who do not adhere to the laws of American Samoa and if they are foreign nationals they should be deported immediately to their country of origin,” the bill reads. 

Samoan nationals are the largest group of foreigners living in American Samoa and represent 65.4 percent of all foreigners in the American territory. 

Under current laws, criminals can only be deported if ordered by the court and the Immigration Board; foreigners must undergo a hearing before the board. 

Under the proposed bill any person found guilty of a felony or a misdemeanor may be sentenced by the court “to immediate deportation if the person is a foreign national.”

Last year, a 45-year-old man from Samoa was convicted of assaulting his neighbuor by stabbing his back twice with a knife and punching him in the face multiple times and sent to jail. 

Samoa News reports that Eric Afitu, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, has been unable to post a $10,000 surety bond, and was ordered to serve 20 months’ detention. Upon release from detention, Afitu is to immediately depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation.

Afitu was initially charged with first-degree assault and second-degree burglary, both of which are classed as felonies, and two misdemeanors: third degree assault and property damage. 

But under a plea agreement with the Government, Afitu pled guilty to the amended count of second-degree assault. The remaining charges were dismissed.

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