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CNN Just Announced that Farm Workers from Samoa Need Not Apply for Visas to Come to US

Yet another slap in the face to the people of American Samoa! The White House, according to a CNN alert just minutes ago, has advised people from Belize, Haiti and Samoa not to apply for work permit visas to come to the US to act as farm hands during harvest seasons. Forget about the economic catastrophe this poses for, especially, small farmers who rely on  labor that they are just not going to find in their locales, and just focus on whom the President has targeted.

Note to Washington: Are you talking about “American Samoa?”

If so, this is a US territory that has been treated so shabbily since we took over this island destination immortalized. The people of American Samoa can receive US Passports but are not considered US Citizens, although they follow US law and are regulated by US government rules in every way. They are considered “US Nationals.” They serve in the US Army but they have no vote. We annexed Samoa when the US won the Spanish-American War and took over this Spanish possession. (BTW: My grandfather fought with Teddy Roosevelt’s troops in Puerto Rico in the Spanish-American War).

The underlying reasons, as I have learned them, for not granting citizenship to the people of American Samoa has to do with the elitist mentality of the ruling class in the US at the time who saw the Samoan’s as uncivilized because of the vast cultural differences of the island peoples of the Pacific and European culture that prevailed in the US. So Samoan’s have US Passports and I don’t understand why they would also need visas to come to the US for any purpose. Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Guam, a not too distant neighbor of Samoa, are all US citizens if born in those territories but American Samoans are treated like illegitimate children in a royal family! It really is tragic!

To lump any other destination, whether its Belize or Haiti or any other non-US land mass, into the same category with Samoans who serve in our military, obey US rules and laws, are part of the US territory system, carry US Passports but as US Nationals and not as US Citizens, is just unconscionable and defies explanation other than accepting that the underlying rationale for this decision is the same as the reason not granting citizenship to those born in American Samoa (can you believe that the name “America” is actually part of the legal name of the territory!) It’s a statement meant to testify that the people of American Samoa are racially inferior to other peoples based on their cultural history which, like other Polynesian destinations such as Tahiti and Hawaii, is rich with art, music, dance,  craft skills, creativity and  its own unique history.  The Puritan influenced legislators of the time essentially saw those of  this region as savages and somehow the US government’s mentality has its own form of stunted growth and continues to see those from American Samoa as unworthy of even the same status  given to those American US Citizens born and living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the USVI!

Perhaps the next thing we’ll hear is that some US state’s citizens will not be welcome in another state without a visa! This story amounts to just that!

Every day is a new and embarrassing horror story. If I folded this scenario into my next novel, “SECRET,” critics would say it’s just too farfetched! How can you lump people who carry US passports and are “US Nationals” into the same category with the population of foreign countries? And for goodness sake, why would you want to?

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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