Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he recently met with representatives of the United States Department of Homeland Security on matters pertaining to federal funding provided to American Samoa for homeland security. The meeting was prompted by recent news reports alleging that US-DHS suspended all travels funded by their department in American Samoa. Attending the meeting from DHS were Mr. Marcelino Galvan, Acting Division Director, Office for Domestic Preparedness – Western Division, Mr. Bill Powers, Preparedness Officer, Office for Domestic Preparedness – Western Division, Mr. Andrew White, Assistant Director – Office of Grants and Training, and Mr. Michael Cappannari, Office of Legislative Affairs.
“I am very pleased that the Department of Homeland Security was able to meet with me and briefed me on what they are doing for the security of our territory,” said Faleomavaega.
“The truth is, travels funded under the United States Department of Homeland Security programs have not been suspended. However, there has been a tightening of procedures with more stricter guidelines put in in place for travel requests that now requires approval by both United States Department of Homeland Security and our local Territorial Office of Homeland Security.”
“Furthermore, Mr. Powers and Mr. Marcelino Galvan assured me that American Samoa has not been given a “High Risk” designation. Instead, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working closely with our local office of homeland security to improve areas that have been found deficient. Towards that end, DHS has placed a set of specific conditions that must be adhered to by TOHS.”
“I am pleased with our meeting and by the commitment expressed by DHS to work with our local government to resolve any security issues of concern. All in all, I think the Deparment of Homeland Security has shown they are concerned about the security of our territory and they are doing everything they can to provide our local government with the proper tools and expertise necessary to secure our borders.”
“I congratulate Mr. Lei’ataua Ala’ilima and his staff at the Territorial Office of Homeland Security for working closely with the Department of Homeland Security to develop a solid plan that will meet the current and future security needs and concerns of American Samoa,” concluded the Congressman.