Human Trafficking alleged
About 20 officers from several agencies closed American Samoa's Office of Immigration last week, removing a large file cabinet and more than 15 bins full of documents, according to the Samoa News. Photos of the raid are displayed on their home page, but there hasn't been a follow-up story.
Lt. John Cendrowski of the Office of Territorial and International Criminal Intelligence and Drug Enforcement (OTICIDE, says Samoa News) told the New York Times that "In our ongoing investigation into human trafficking, we have heard from different Asian races on how they were 'recruited' to come to American Samoa in order to earn a better living."
Radio New Zealand reports that "The Office of Criminal Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Public Safety raided the Immigration Office last week searching for files of 750 Asians, including Chinese, Korean and Filipino citizens."
Samoa News says the Independent Prosecutor's Office obtained the search warrant.
This timing is particularly bad for American Samoa, with Radio New Zealand also reporting that "A four member team from the US General Accountability Office is due in American Samoa next week to study the territory’s customs and immigration systems."
It also complicates matters for Rep. Gregorio C. Sablan, who told the Saipan Chamber of Commerce Saturday he was working on legislation to amend the 'federalization' law.
Opponents of federal control often point to American Samoa's system as an argument for local control in the CNMI.