- Associated Press - Friday, January 17, 2014

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) - American Samoa is granting amnesty to immigrants living in the U.S. territory illegally.

The territory controls its own immigration and customs, instead of the federal government.

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga says the immigration amnesty program is intended to help provide a more accurate count of the island’s population, which showed a 3 percent drop during the 2010 U.S. Census count.

Moliga says it is believed the population was undercounted because of deportation fears.


After a registration period from Feb. 18 to March 14, those living in American Samoa without legal permission will be given an opportunity to legalize their residency status.

Convicted felons are not eligible.

Most people living in American Samoa without legal permission are from neighboring Samoa, an independent country with language, cultural and family ties.