‘Number of FAS migrants in NMI dropped’

Posted on May 15 2019

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FAS migration increases in other US territories—Census
DOI releases $34M Compact Impact funding

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Census Bureau recently completed its 2018 Estimates of Compact of Free Association Migrants and the CNMI showed a decrease of 5 percent in the Freely Associated States population to 2,535.

That number accounts for 5 percent of the CNMI population.

FAS refer to Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

The 2018 enumeration puts the number of FAS migrants in Guam at 18,874—an increase of 9 percent from 2013 that accounts for 11 percent of the total Guam population.

The number of FAS migrants in Hawaii increased by 12 percent to 16,680, a number that accounts for approximately 1 percent of the total Hawaii population.

American Samoa had no change, holding at 25 individuals, at less than 1 percent of the total American Samoa population.

These estimates, to be used for the next five years, provide the basis for determining the Compact Impact funding amounts in fiscal year 2019.

As provided for under the Compact of Free Association, funding is provided to each of the governments to help defray costs associated with increased demands placed on health, education, and social services, or infrastructure related to such services provided to individuals who have migrated from the FAS to Guam, Hawaii, the CNMI, and American Samoa.

This year, the U.S. Department of the Interior has approved for distribution Compact Impact grant funding amounting to $34 million for fiscal year 2019. The amount will be distributed to these U.S. jurisdictions.

The total fiscal year 2019 Compact Impact funding includes $30 million in annual mandatory funding and $4 million in discretionary funds, appropriated by Congress. The funds were distributed as follows: Guam ($16.8 million); Hawaii ($14.9 million); CNMI ($2.3 million); and American Samoa ($22,678)

A portion of Guam’s fiscal year 2019 Compact Impact funding was released to Guam earlier in the fall of 2018 to support Guam’s Public School Leaseback Program.

“We are thankful to Congress for providing these funds,” said Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs. “Given that the resources do not meet the needs as outlined by the most impacted jurisdictions, Guam and Hawaii, Interior has sought other ways to help mitigate Compact Impact. One example of this is providing financial assistance to non-profit organizations Mañelu on Guam and We Are Oceania in Hawaii.”

Under the Compacts of Free Association, U.S. Public Laws 99-239 (1986), 99-658 (1994), and 108-188 (2003) citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau are deemed legal nonimmigrants allowed to live, work and study in the United States without visa requirements for their duration of stay.

Since 2004, the U.S. Congress has provided an annual allocation of $30 million to be distributed to the affected jurisdictions of Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Distribution of these Compact Impact funds is based on an enumeration, which the U.S. Census Bureau provides every five years for this purpose. A copy of the 2018 enumeration can be found on the Office of Insular Affairs website under Compact Impact reports.

On April 30, 2019, Domenech announced $517,014 in technical assistance program funding to two non-profit organizations: the Mañe’lu Micronesian Resource Center One-Stop Shop in Guam and the We are Oceania Hālau Ola One-Stop Center in Hawaii.

Created with funding provided by the Office of Insular Affairs, the two non-profit organizations provide new-migrant orientation, family support services, and workforce development programs to individuals from the FAS. The programs have provided assistance to over 10,000 individuals in Hawaii, and over 3,600 in Guam.

Under current law, mandatory Compact Impact funding expires in 2023, while U.S. relationships with the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, under the Compacts of Free Association continue. (DOI)

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