Interior Releases $3 Million to Help Defray Impacts of Migrants from Freely Associated States to Guam, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa
Supplements $30 Million Provided Previously
News Release from US DOI, August 1, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 1, 2017) – Interior Acting Assistant Secretary Nikolao Pula made available discretionary Compact impact funding in the amount of $3,000,000 for fiscal year 2017, as an additional Federal contribution toward defraying the costs that Guam, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa bear due to the presence of migrants from the freely associated states (FAS) of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Guam received $1,491,000, Hawaii $1,276,000, the CNMI $231,000, and American Samoa $2,000.
“The Governors of the affected jurisdictions have reported that the Federal government is not providing sufficient funds to cover the costs they bear for the impact of migrants from the freely associated states on social services,” said Pula. “Both Guam and Hawaii have each reported costs exceeding $100 million a year.”
The Compacts of Free Association approved in Public Law 99-239 and Public Law 99-658 allow for citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau to live and work in the United States as legal non-immigrants. The Compact, as amended, (Public Law 108-188), provides $30 million annually in mandatory funds to defray costs associated with FAS migrants to Guam, Hawaii, the CNMI, and American Samoa. First authorized and appropriated for fiscal year 2012, discretionary Compact impact grants have also been provided annually as an additional contribution for educational impacts.
The $30 million in mandatory Compact impact funding for fiscal year 2017 was released earlier, with distributions of $14,729,281 for Guam, $12,610,392 for Hawaii, $2,281,880 for the CNMI, and $21,447 for American Samoa. This funding may be used more broadly for health, educational, social, or public safety services or infrastructure related to such services due to the residence of FAS migrants in these jurisdictions.
Both discretionary and mandatory Compact impact grant funding are allocated according to a ratio based on an enumeration of migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau residing in those jurisdictions. According to the 2013 Compact impact enumeration conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Census, there are 17,170 FAS migrants in Hawaii, 14,700 in Guam, 2,660 in the CNMI, and 25 in American Samoa. As required by law, the enumeration is to be conducted every five years and should be conducted again in 2018.
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association. On behalf of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas executes these responsibilities through the Office of Insular Affairs whose mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas.
GPDN: Guam receives $1.5M more in compact-impact funding