Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Immigration Control Through Private Contracts

Talifaitasi Satele

The public should be weary of a governmental approach to immigration. The ASG is slow, unfair in its application of current laws and unresponsive to the needs of the private sector. It’s just the nature of a one-size-fits-all approach, which is nearly impossible to do; otherwise, the current immigration law wouldn’t have loopholes in it in the first place.

Samoan landowners should take the issue of immigration upon themselves through the terms of the leases they have with foreign business owners. Samoan property owners can negotiate the terms by which they lease their property for others to do business. It is their property, thus it is their right.

A potential problem may be that many of our people may be unfamiliar with constructing proper contracts; perhaps the Fono can instruct the AG’s office to provide free legal counsel in that area.

Nevertheless, this approach has several benefits:

1. Reaffirms that Samoans own their land, not the Fono or the ASG or foreign businesses.

2. Invites more of our people to learn how to create contracts to their benefit.

3. The private sector can meet its needs through negotiations with landowners versus one entity, the ASG.

4. The Fono can influence public opinion and action on the issue without having to violate private property rights or meddle in businesses’ day-to-day affairs.

The idea of having the ASG fix immigration always seems to get us nowhere. We need a new approach, and hopefully, this time that is to put it in the hands of individual Samoan landowners whose decisions will collectively decide how we move forward together into the future.


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