Nine Samoans await deportation from the United States
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 07 MARCH 2018: The Samoan Government has been informed by the United States government that nine people who have had trouble with the law there are to be deported back to Samoa.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi told Talamua that they have been informed by the US State Department about those on the list to be deported to Samoa.
“Yes we have been informed about them (deportees) but there are processes in place that need to be addressed first before such action is taken,” Tuilaepa explained.
Such processes include international protocols and having the assistance for the rehabilitation and security of the deportees locally.
“They need help and we need to find out if these people have families here, if not, then we have to find homes for them,” said Tuilaepa.
He cited an incident that happened 15 years ago, where the US Government deported a Samoan citizen without notifying the Samoan Government, and the man was left at the airport.
A police officer noticed the man walking around and approached him but the man did not know who and where his parents were from.
He was later beaten up by some young men when the deportee ignorantly broke the village evening curfew. He died in hospital weeks later.
The Prime Minister said these things need to be dealt with first especially information about the person and family.
“It is important to know information and everything about a deportee before he is sent back,” said Tuilaepa.
Talamua understands that the US Government is planning to bring at least 9 Samoan deportees including some who were born in the United States.
“These are some of the many hurdles that need to be cleared first,” said Tuilaepa.
It is not known what offences the deportees committed but this is not the first time Samoans have been deported from the United States.
Some of the first to have been deported several years ago, established a ministry that offered support and some rehabilitation for the others that came later.
Three years ago, the Samoa Returnees Organisation was specifically set up and is now working with the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration providing support and rehabilitation for the deportees or returnees, adjust to life in Samoa.
The Samoa Returnees Organisation also provides a safety buffer as some of the deportees have committed very serious crimes that require protection both for themselves and the community at large.