Citizens of the Pacific island nations of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of Palau (ROP), and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) have been legally migrating to the United States since the U.S. Congress and President Reagan signed the treaty with these island nations called the Compact of Free Association with the United States. Commonly known as the Compact, the treaty allows citizens of those sovereign nations to freely enter the United States to live, attend schools, and work. In exchange, the United States retains the right to provide security throughout the territorial waters. Since the Treaty was mutually signed 1987, thousands of citizens have migrated to the United States through the Hawaiian islands and Guam in search of education and jobs for themselves and their children.
Without the usual comprehensive investigation from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide adequate data, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) has started a blitz of public statements and allegations against these small group of legal immigrants. He has insisted without a GAO report that this legal migration of people from these freely associated states is costing the State of Hawaii in millions of dollars as the immigrants are entitled to the same social services as U.S. citizens. He has failed to also give proper kudos to the majority of these legal migrants who are working and contributing to the U.S economy. He and his colleagues in the U.S. Senate have tried different tactics to force the U.S. federal government to compensate the State of Hawaii for this federal initative. In September, 2011 Senator Inouye as Chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has ordered President Obama and the Department of Interior which oversees the terms of the Treaty to begin a process of restricting immigrants from these FAS. By taking such a public stand against this small minority of Pacific islanders, Senator Inouye has given the political stamp to racial discrimination against this newest group of LEGAL immigrants to the State of Hawaii.
The U.S Senate is on the brink of exercising the short-term memory that has plagued the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. They have forgotten that the U.S. government invaded those Pacific islands during WWII. Then they tested the atomic bomb on Bikini Atoll (yes, that Atomic Bomb testing) making them uninhabitable due to radioactive contamination. They have also forgotten that the U.S. government once considered those islands strategically important for national security during the Cold War. More tragically, Senator Inouye and his colleagues have forgotten that young Micronesian citizens have died alongside their American comrades in the wars in Irag and Afghanistan and will continue to do so. Less important, but nonetheless ironic, Senator Inouye from Hawaii seems to have forgotten the spirit of hospitality which his state has claimed as its marketing brand for tourism.
There undoubtedly are cost factors associated with the influx of islanders to Hawaii and Guam. Yet, the overwhelming focus on the smaller cost of social welfare while completely ignoring the larger number of tax paying immigrants who are legally working and contributing to the economy is bordering on racial discrimination.
We simply ask that Senator Inouye and his colleagues in the U.S. Senate stop misleading the people of Hawaii by one-sidedly focusing on the smaller percentage of immigrants who are using and perhaps abusing social services which they are legally entitled to by the terms of the Treaty; instead he should commission the GAO to provide a comprehensive analysis into both the cost and benefits of having the people from these Pacific islanders in the United States as tax paying contributors to society.We believe that the benefit of having the legal immigrants in the United States far outweighs the cost of social welfare programs.
We simply ask that Senator Inouye and his colleagues stop the discrimination and the full story based on sound data.