American Samoa is a U.S. insular area that operates its customs and immigration programs according to its own laws and independent of the United States. As such, U.S. agencies, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, have no roles in operating the customs or immigration programs in American Samoa. U.S. officials have raised questions about how American Samoa operates its customs and immigration programs, and if this introduces any risks to the security of American Samoa or the rest of the United States. GAO was asked to review American Samoa's customs and immigration programs and this report discusses (1) the operations of American Samoa's customs and immigration programs, and (2) the extent to which U.S. and American Samoa agencies have identified potential risks in American Samoa's customs and immigration programs. GAO reviewed available statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures governing American Samoa and U.S. customs and immigration programs. GAO also visited American Samoa and interviewed U.S. and American Samoan officials to obtain insights.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Homeland Security
|To better understand the extent and significance of the possible risks associated with aliens in American Samoa fraudulently obtaining documents to travel to the rest of the United States and potentially pursue U.S. citizenship, the Secretary of DHS, should, in consultation with the Secretary of the Departments of State and the Interior, perform a risk assessment to (1) determine the extent of the threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences associated with aliens fraudulently obtaining CIs and using them to travel to the rest of the United States from American Samoa: and (2) make a determination as to whether CIs should continue to be an acceptable identification document that establishes nationality for U.S. nationals wishing to travel to the rest of the United States from American Samoa.
Closed – Implemented