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Concerns raised about increase in Asian population in American Samoa

American Samoa Senator Faiivae Iuli Godinet says lack of understanding is leading some residents to make certain deals to sponsor and support Chinese businesses in the territory.

During the confirmation hearing for Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale, several senators expressed concern about the visible increase in the population of Chinese citizens plus other Asian ethnic groups in the territory.

One senator estimated that 90% of the Asians now in the territory run some sort of business such as restaurants, retail stores and farming.

Senator Faiivae observed that in most cases, Samoans are sweeping the floor while Asians give the orders.

Attorney General Talauega agreed that the growing Chinese population needs to be slowed down and blamed lack of enforcement of immigration laws for the rapid increase in the Asian population.

He pointed out that current law limits to five the number of Chinese citizens and other nationalities, with the exception of Samoan citizens, authorised to reside in the territory each year.

Manu’a faipule Vesi Talalelei Fautanu also raised the same issue during the AG’s confirmation hearing in the House.

He was worried about the population of non-Samoans increasing given the territory’s limited land and other resources.

Another issue which was brought up during the AG’s confirmation hearing is the children of foreigners born in American Samoa who now have the authority to sponsor their own people.

Senator Tuaolo M Fruean said he had submitted a proposed law back in 2005 which would deny US nationality to babies born of parents who are not American Samoan.

Tuaolo said if this isn’t addressed maybe in the next 10 or 15 years, the Fono would be run by Chinese with names such as Woo and Lim.

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