US Pacific islands seek immigration funding

Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas are pushing for more federal funding to deal with the uncontrolled influx of immigrants under the Compacts of Free Association with the United States.

The Guam Daily Post reported more than 76,000 immigrants from Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia had made use of their respective compacts to move to the US, with more than 17,000 of them hosted on Guam.

Last year, the government of Guam estimated compact impact funding for 2016 to be $US142.6 million but it received only $US16.2 million from the US Department of the Interior which administers federal compact aid.

On Thursday, Guam's delegate to the US Congress Madeleine Bordallo and her counterparts from Hawaii and the Northern Marianas announced a bill to reintroduce legislation that gives them additional federal funding as well as greater access to federal support services and programmes for immigrants.

"Our bill would provide relief to Guam and other states and territories required by the federal government to provide local public services to more than 76,000 migrants under the compacts of free association," said Ms Bordallo.

The Compact Impact Relief Act would also require a comprehensive assessment of the Compacts of Free Association and their implementation before they expire in 2023, including the inadequate compact impact aid to Guam and other affected jurisdictions.

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