Bordallo concerned over impact of Compact migrants


Monday, 11 July 2011 01:42 by Therese Hart | Variety News Staff

—————-

GUAM Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo, in a July 6 letter to Senator Frank Blas Jr., has assured the lawmaker that her
[Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo wants to stimulate policy discussions in advance of the upcoming bilateral meetings between the United States government and the Freely Associated States. Variety file photo]

Guam Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo wants to stimulate policy discussions in advance of the upcoming bilateral meetings between the United States government and the Freely Associated States. Variety file photo
May 12 letter to the Secretaries of the State Department and the Department of the Interior on matters concerning the Compacts of Free Association was an attempt to focus the Obama administration’s attention on the growing consequences of the 25-year-old policy on Compact migrants.

Bordallo’s letter expressed concerns about the growing costs of providing public services to migrants from the Freely Associated States (FAS). The letter also outlined some policy matters to mitigate the impact that Compact migrants have on the cost of public services on Guam and other affected areas.

The intent of the May 12 letter, said Bordallo, was to “stimulate policy discussions in advance of the upcoming bilateral meetings between the United States government and the respective FAS.”

Bordallo said Blas misinterpreted the May 12 letter. The letter, signed by U.S. congressional leaders, including Bordallo, want to restrict the flow of Micronesians coming to Guam and the U.S. because of the financial burden in providing social services to the thousands of islanders who have migrated.

It is clear, wrote Bordallo, that the current implementation of the Compact “is financially unsustainable.” Further, the reality that focusing solely on reimbursement of funds “has little, if any, support among Republicans in Congress, and this is the reality of the constraints within the federal budget.”

Offset

Because of this, Bordallo wrote that she is working in a “bipartisan manner with leaders in the House and Senate to try and find ways to mitigate the future costs of the Compact and provide reimbursement to the extent possible through other means, such as an offset that the government of Guam can use.”

The letter was signed by Bordallo, New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman – who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that oversees legislation on U.S.-affiliated islands in the Pacific – Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the entire Hawaii delegation, and both senators from Arkansas, a state where up to 10,000 Marshall Islanders live.

The letter directed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to reach agreement with island governments to set up screening procedures to limit the number of incoming islanders from the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, who are likely to become “public charges” in the United States. This is the first time since “compacts of free association” were approved in 1986 and renewed in 2003 that U.S. officials have sought to restrict unfettered flow of islanders into the U.S.

The legislators want a screening process to reduce “the number of migrants who are likely to become a public charge.” They also recommended “screening measures that could be implemented by the FAS governments to reduce the rate of migration of persons who are likely to develop an over-reliance on social services.”

Sen. Blas, in his July 6 letter to Bordallo, said the options that Bordallo and her colleagues provided in the May 12 letter “will go against the agreed upon intent of the grant (for education, provided in the Compact agreement), and will hinder the effort by the FSM (Federated States of Micronesia) governments to fulfill the mandate.”

The second option the U.S. lawmakers proposed in their May 12 letter was to consider screening measures to be implemented by FAS governments to reduce the rate of migration of those who are likely to develop an over-reliance on social services.

Blas said this action may be illegal, since it’s similar to profiling, and may also be a violation of the 4th and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: World News

Thank you for your comment and it will be posted promptly.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: