To Defray Impacts of Compact Migrants in Hawaii, Guam, CNMI, and American Samoa
Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008
WASHINGTON – Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, this week announced an additional $4 million in Compact Impact funding for fiscal year 2018 to be distributed to Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa to defray costs and impacts associated with migrants under the Compact of Free Association (Compact), or U.S. Public Law 108-188, to each of these affected jurisdictions.
This supplemental Compact Impact funding provided by Congress as an additional contribution to be applied towards educational impacts, was distributed as follows:
Guam $ 1,987,556
Hawaii $ 1,701,635
CNMI $ 307,914
American Samoa $ 2,893
“Guam and Hawaii, being the first ports of entry to the U.S. from the Micronesia region, are the most impacted by those who travel to the United States under the Compacts of Free Association,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “Guam Governor Eddie Calvo also discussed this issue of Compact Impact with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during his recent visit to Guam. We are aware of the challenges that Guam faces and are pleased that Congress has provided this additional funding.”
Under the Compact agreements (P.L. 99-239 and P.L. 99-658), citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, also known as the freely associated states (FAS), are eligible to live and work in the United States as legal non-immigrants. Under the Amended Compact of 2003 (P.L. 108-188), Congress provided $30 million each year in mandatory funds to help defray costs associated with migrants under the Compacts to the affected jurisdictions of Guam, Hawaii, the CNMI, and American Samoa. Supplemental discretionary Compact Impact grants were first authorized and appropriated in fiscal year 2012 as an additional contribution for educational impacts.
Most of the $30 million in mandatory Compact Impact funding for fiscal year 2018 was already distributed earlier this year, with $14.9 million given to Guam; $12.8 million given to Hawaii; and $2.3 million given to the CNMI. American Samoa’s portion of mandatory funding, $21,705, will now be sent to American Samoa along with their discretionary amount of $2,893 for a total Compact Impact funding support of $24,598. Guam will receive an additional amount of $176,989 which is prior-year unspent Compact Impact funds. The mandatory funds may be used more broadly for health, educational, social, public safety services, or infrastructure related to such services due to the residence of Compact migrants in these jurisdictions.
Both discretionary and mandatory Compact Impact grant funding are distributed according to a ratio based on an enumeration conducted every five years by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the 2013 enumeration, there are 17,170 FAS migrants in Guam, 14,700 in Hawaii, 2,660 in the CNMI, and 25 in American Samoa. As required by law, the enumeration is to be conducted every five years. Census is currently conducting its 2018 enumeration. Under current law, the mandatory $30 million Compact Impact funding authorized under the Compact expires in 2023. The supplemental discretionary Compact Impact funding is dependent upon annual authorizations by Congress.
The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided under the Compact of Free Association to the freely associated states of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, executes these responsibilities, on behalf of the Secretary, through the Office of Insular Affairs whose mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas.