2 Apr 2008

Push to curb costs to US of migrants from affiliated areas

4:19 pm on 2 April 2008

A Hawaii senator is calling for U.S.-affiliated islands in the Pacific to work together to stop American states picking up the tab for hundreds of millions of dollars of services to migrants.

The Hawaii State Senator Kalani English says the federal government has not honoured the Compact of Free Association.

He says he estimates it costs nearly 100 million US dollars a year to provide services to all freely associated state citizens in Hawaii, for which Hawaii gets only 10 million from the federal government.

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson, reports.

"He's pushing to get everybody talking so that solutions are worked out with everybody involved. And it looks like the islands are now getting much more involved in the discussion and he's pushing to try to get the federal government to lift the cap in what he says for the US government to really honour the Compact."

Giff Johnson.