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Tuesday, March 29, 2011
COFA Migrations: Field work complete, GAO Audit report due in September
By Andrew Walden @ 12:46 PM :: 10676 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics, World News, Family

by Andrew Walden

In response to an inquiry, Hawai`i Free Press today received the following email from David Gootnick, Director, International Affairs and Trade, Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC:

…In February, 2010, GAO was asked by eight members of Congress representing Hawaii, Arkansas, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa to review issues related to the migration of citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands(RMI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of Palau (ROP) to the U.S.  We initiated this work in the fall of 2010.

Section 141 of each Compact of Free Association affords admission into the U.S. to FSM, RMI, and ROP citizens to work and establish residence in the U.S. as nonimmigrants without regard to visa requirements.

Our report, which is in part an update of work GAO issued in 2001 (see GAO-02-40), will assess:

  1. the Census enumerations of migrants in affected jurisdictions.
  2. the reported impact of migrants on Arkansas, the CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii.
  3. federal efforts to address the impact, including grants to affected jurisdictions, grants to the Freely Associated States, and Department of Homeland Security procedures for assessing admissibility of migrants.

As part of our work we visited Hawaii, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in February and Arkansas in early March.  We are also analyzing existing federal reporting and available data from these areas.

We plan to issue our report in September…at which point it will also be available on our website—www.gao.gov.

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