Saturday, October 19, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, November 28, 2011
US Micronesia Aid Crowds out Private Investment, Local Decision Making
By Selected News Articles @ 11:57 PM :: 6344 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics, World News, Family

by Neil Mellen, President, Habele Outer Island Education

One billion dollars over the last six years. That's the estimated cost for government services provided to migrants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau living on Guam and Hawaii. It's separate and additional to direct U.S. assistance to those three island nations.

Frustration with the costs is growing. The money could be going to fund other core government services in Guam and Hawaii, or fuel growth in the private-sector economy that created it. Spending on services and entitlements for these immigrants is really just a symptom: one manifestation of the faltering relationship between the United States and its long-time strategic partners in the Pacific.

Pacific Islanders from the three nations may enter and reside indefinitely in the United States, bypassing visa and labor certifications required of other immigrants. That's a benefit provided by the Compacts of Free Association, those bi-lateral treaties that solidify America's unique relationship with these three Freely Associated States.

Inevitably, the vast majority of FAS immigrants make their way to Guam and Hawaii. Their children attend public schools. Most of these students require remedial instruction in English and other subjects. Many claim free or reduced cost school meals. FAS citizens are eligible for Medicare and Emergency Medicaid programs. Among older FAS immigrants, high rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension lead to heavy medical costs. There's also federal or state rent support for FAS families.

It all adds up.

Geography explains why the impact of the compact is disproportionately borne by Guam and Hawaii. It cannot account for the sheer size of that impact. That is a story of costly disappointments and unintended consequences.

Consider the FSM. Half of Micronesians over 25 are high school dropouts. Only one-in-10 who enter the two-year community college system graduate from it. Private-sector unemployment is rampant and a third of the national population lives below the "basic needs" poverty level. The International Monetary Fund ranks Micronesia in the bottom quarter of its worldwide "ease of doing business" survey. All that is despite $130 million in annual assistance programs from the U.S. government.

The bleak conditions at home explain why an estimated 56,000 Micronesians, Marshallese and Palauans now reside in the United States. They comprise nearly a quarter of those nations' total populations. Over half of these immigrants come to Guam and Hawaii.

The original intent of American support to the three Freely Associated States was to build the capacity for economic and political self-sufficiency in those nations. Despite decades of assistance, the FAS remain poor and dysfunctional, so many of these Micronesians, Marshallese and Palauans understandably seek greener pastures in the U.S.

A skeptic might argue that, thanks to their remote location and lack of natural recourses, small isolated island nations are "automatically" destined for permanent financial dependency; that political and financial sovereignty are unobtainable. But none would claim the present situation is the best that can be realized.

The problem is not the size or scope of U.S. support, the problems lay within the ways that money is structured, allocated and managed. Private investment is crowded out, local decision-making and initiative hampered, and civil society woefully underdeveloped.

No one has better means or motivation to advocate for improved development in the Freely Associated States than the people of Guam and Hawaii. Guamanians and Hawaiians have a unique appreciation of the strategic importance of American forces and transit in the Central Pacific. Likewise, they have a heightened sensitivity to the influx of immigrants who are themselves frustrated with the state of under-development in their home islands.

If the people of Guam and Hawaii can direct mainland Americans' attention to solving economic and political challenges in the Freely Associated States, then they will accomplish much more than just reducing the short term "compact impact" costs they now struggle with.

---30---

Neil Mellen is president of the Habele Outer Island Education, a South Carolina-based charity that supports Micronesian students through private school scholarships, library donations and academic competitions.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT