Congressman Faleomavaega announced that he met with Governor Lolo and his staff yesterday evening while they are in Washington D.C. to attend the 2013 National Governors Association Winter Meeting. The Congressman and the Governor were also participants of the Senior Plenary Session of the Interagency Group on Insular Areas held this morning at the U.S. Department of Interior.
In their meeting, both Congressman Faleomavaega and Governor Lolo were able to discuss critical issues regarding American Samoa. This included matters relating to federal and local immigration laws, update on sequestration, application of the Affordable Care Act in American Samoa, issues related to the canneries, and the status of the economic situation in American Samoa.
“I am grateful to Governor Lolo for taking the time to meet with me in my office given his busy schedule,” Faleomavaega said.
“In our meeting, I was able to share with the Governor some of my proposals regarding the federal immigration legislation that the Congress is currently working on. Some of my proposed provisions are to allow for U.S. nationals to apply for citizenship from American Samoa and to decrease the fees for the naturalization process for U.S. nationals, provide a pathway to legal status for both stateless individuals and ‘overstayers’ residing in the U.S. and to fully implement the Dream Act for foreign nationals who were brought to the U.S. as young children. I also recommended to the Governor that he should start considering reforming our own local immigration laws given the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the application and enforcement.”
“Governor Lolo and I both agree that immigration reform is a critical issue that needs to be addressed immediately. We also discussed that we must work together to make certain that American Samoa receives the programs and benefits provided by law under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and that they are fully implemented and in compliance. We want to make sure that Medicaid and Medicare are able to provide and assist with the struggling condition of our local healthcare system,” Faleomavaega continued.
“The one critical request I asked Governor Lolo was to provide our people an update on the status of American Samoa’s economic situation and what priorities are in place moving our economy forward. This information is useful because it will help me formulate legislation and working with my colleagues in the Congress to provide support of necessary federal programs that would complement the Governor’s efforts in boosting our local economy. The Governor has responded favorably and is already expecting such a report from Director Keniseli Lafaele of the Department of Commerce in the coming months. This will be helpful not only for me and the Lolo Administration, but especially, the Fono.”
“Again, I want to thank Governor Lolo for meeting with me and I look forward to working closely with him in the near future,” Faleomavaega concluded.
Photo Caption: Congressman Faleomavaega and Gov. Lolo Moliga after meeting in Congressman’s Office in Washington, D.C.
on February 25, 2013.