New 2018 Census Enumeration Shows Increase in FAS Migrants
Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008
WASHINGTON – Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, this week announced the distribution of $34 million in fiscal year (FY) 2019 Compact Impact grant funding to Guam, Hawai’i, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa. As provided for under the Compact of Free Association (Compact), 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 freely associated states (FAS) to these U.S. jurisdictions.
“We are thankful to Congress for providing these funds,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “Given that the resources do not meet the needs as outlined by the most impacted jurisdictions, Guam and Hawai’i, 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 Hawai’i, which I announced last month.”
The total FY 2019 Compact Impact funding includes $30 million in annual mandatory funding and $4 million in discretionary funds, appropriated by Congress for FY 2019. The funds were distributed as follows:
|American Samoa||$ 22,678|
A portion of Guam’s FY 2019 Compact Impact funding was released to Guam earlier in the Fall of 2018 to support Guam’s Public School Leaseback Program.
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, Hawai’i, 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.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently completed its 2018 Estimates of Compact of Free Association (COFA) Migrants. These estimates, to be used for the next five years, provide the basis for determining the FY 2019 distribution amounts. The 2018 enumeration puts the number of FAS migrants on Guam at 18,874, an increase of 9% from 2013 that accounts for 11% of the total Guam population. The number of FAS migrants in Hawai’i increased by 12% increase to 16,680, a number that accounts for approximately 1% of the total Hawai’i population. The CNMI showed a decrease of 5% in the FAS population to 2,535, accounting for 5% of the CNMI population, and American Samoa had no change holding at 25 individuals, at less than 1% of the total American Samoa population. A copy of the 2018 enumeration can be found on the Office of Insular Affairs website under Compact Impact reports.
On April 30, 2019, Assistant Secretary Domenech announced $517,014 in technical assistance program funding to two non-profit organizations: the Mañe’lu Micronesian Resource Center (MRC) One-Stop Shop on Guam and the We are Oceania (WAO) Hālau Ola One-Stop Center in Hawai’i. Created with funding provided by Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, the two non-profit organizations provide new-migrant orientation, family support services, and workforce development programs to individuals from the freely associated states (FAS). The programs have provided assistance to over 10,000 individuals in Hawai’i, and over 3,600 on 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.
The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.