19 Mar 2010

US audit call for Micronesian migrants

4:12 pm on 19 March 2010

Eight members of the US Congress, including three from the state of Arkansas, have asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office for the first-ever audit of Compact impact aid related to Marshall Islanders, Micronesians and Palauans living in America and its territories.

In a letter, they ask the office to see what demands are placed on the US territories from people from the three western Pacific nations.

People from the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau have visa-free access to the US as part of Compacts of Free

Association that provide the US with military authority over an area of the Pacific about the size of the continental U.S.

But questions have been raised by Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas about the adequacy of U.S. federal Compact impact funding to cover costs for providing education, health and other services to people from the three countries.

Arkansas, where an estimated 5,000 Marshall Islanders live, has expressed concern that while it support large populations of islanders, the state gets

no Compact impact funding.