The Department of Interior recently announced the release of $34 million of Compact Impact grants to Guam, Hawai’i, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and American Samoa for fiscal year 2019.
Interior appropriated around $ 16.83 million for Guam, $14.88 million for Hawai’i, $2.2 million for CNMI, and $22,678 for American Samoa.
Guam already received a portion of its Compact Impact allocation, according to DOI. The department released the funding earlier in the Fall of 2018 to support Guam’s Public School Leaseback Program.
Doug Domenech, Insular and International Affairs assistant secretary made the announcement this week.
“We are thankful to Congress for providing these funds,” said 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.”
On April 30, 2019, Domenech announced $517,014 in technical assistance program funding to the two non-profit organizations. 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.
The allocation 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:
Under the Compacts of Free Association (COFA), citizens of the FSM, Marshall Islands, and Palau are deemed legal nonimmigrants . They are allowed to live, work and study in the U.S. without visa requirements.
Since 2004, the U.S. Congress has provided an annual allocation of $30 million to be distributed to the affected jurisdictions of Guam, Hawaii, CNMI, and American Samoa, according to Interior.
Interior uses the data from the U.S. Census Bureau as basis for determining the FY 2019 allocation for each jurisdiction for the next five years.
The census bureau recently completed its 2018 Estimates of Compact of Free Association (COFA) Migrants.
According to the survey, Guam had the highest number of COFA migrants in 2018. Around 18,874 COFA migrants live on Guam, followed by Hawaii at 16,680.
In total, around 38,114 COFA migrants live in Guam, Hawaii, CNMI, and American Samoa during the survey period.
Compact Impact funding expires in 2023, according to current statutes. Once funding ends, U.S. relationship with the FAS nations continue under the COFA agreement.