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Dear Editor,

The Director of Immigration is attempting to stall the processing of the renewal of an immigrant’s Immigration application by sending his Deputy Director, Supervisor of Immigration and his secretary to stall and confuse the processing procedure.

Oct. 24, 2016: After several hours of being sent from one window to another by a confused clerk, and standing at an empty counter I was finally assisted and reassured by the Deputy Director not to worry. The supervisor informed me they would call me when we are to appear before the Immigration Board. After one week, still no call.

Nov. 01, 2016: 0830, I returned to follow-up only to be told by the Deputy Director that I should return later at 1:00p.m. By then I should have an answer??

1:00p.m. I returned to the Immigration office and spoke with the Deputy Director who informed me to return tomorrow morning. All the papers are in order and all I need is for the Immigration Board to sign the approval. When I asked why is Merlie Gumanab being treated differently from all other applicants, she just told me to trust them. Coincidentally in my two visits, the Chief of Immigration appeared and hovered over his staff.

While heading towards my vehicle behind the EOB building, Ms. Siutu Savusa ran up to me to inform me I am not to return tomorrow, but next week Tuesday. I reminded Ms. Savusa, next Tuesday is Election Day and she corrected me by saying, no come next week Wednesday. I asked who sent her to me, that I had just spoken with the Deputy. She then admitted her boss sent her — the Chief Immigration Officer.

These are the same people who violated and denied Miss Gumanab’s rights in application of Governor Lolo's Amnesty program (Public Law 33-14) in June 2015. Ms. Gumanab then filed a petition against the Immigration Board of American Samoa; Government of American Samoa; Attorney General of American Samoa; and Chief Immigration Officer of American Samoa Peseta Tamasa Dennis Lutu Fuimaono, citing various allegations, and one in particular of sexual harassment and trafficking whereby she refused the Chief Immigration Officer’s sexual advances. (See June 19, 2015 issue for more details)

The ALJ, Albert Toetagata Mailo, who heard Ms. Gumanab’s petition, granted the motion to stay the Immigration Board’s decision to immediately arrest and deport Miss Gumanab. “The order regarding Merlin Gumanab shall be stayed and she shall remain in American Samoa until this matter is disposed of by law.”

After much internal issues Ms. Gumanab was finally issued her P-5 card in Nov. 2015 and has been gainfully employed and paying her taxes.

To date: The Chief Immigration Officer is hiding under a cloud of sexual misbehavior and sex trafficking since the government lost their case against Ms. Gumanab. The AG office conducted an investigation of Ms. Gumanab’s accusation, and to this day Governor Lolo and the AG office have been silent on the outcome.

Governor Lolo has been well aware of his CIO’s disreputable behavior of stalking and allegations of his involvement in sexual human trafficking of an immigrant female. Yet throughout the entire notoriety of the CIO’s reputation, the Governor of American Samoa chose to remain silent and keep his DOI visible, as if immigrant females are nothing to be concerned over.

And now, here it is, one year later, Ms. Gumanab's application for ID renewal is being deliberately obstructed. She is experiencing the vindictiveness of some members of the Immigration Office and Immigration Board, and her ID is being allowed to expire on Nov. 17, 2016, despite her applying early for renewal.

Nov. 2, 2016: Due to conflicting instructions, I visited the Immigration Office and was again given the run around, forcing me to visit the Attorney General for his assistance.

However, despite the AG’s instructions the sitting Immigration Board has placed Miss Gumanab’s file on hold/ pending and will not meet again until Nov. 30, 2016 — remember her ID expires on the 17th.

Ms. Gubanab’s file is now in the hands of the Attorney General’s office.

Is this the type of cabinet members and Executive Board members, Governor Lolo retains to serve us, the American Samoa people?

To the CIO: Just do your job as a public servant instead of trying to get back at helpless people who exposed you for what you are.

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti

Victims' advocate