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Articles: States Need More Fed Help for Marshallese, Micronesian Migrants

Contributed by YokweOnline on Apr 03, 2008 - 10:36 AM

States Need More Fed Help for Marshallese, Micronesian Migrants



  • Micronesians moving north - Hilda Heine and Ben Graham have high hopes for today's "Micronesian Voices in Hawai'i" conference.
  • The Invisible People With Cancer Are Least Likely to Get Quality Care - Palau, Guam, American Samoa, Marshall Islands, CNMI list cancer as one of the top three causes of death.
  • Islands focus on migration problem - engaging with Hawaii state officials to address the problems that have largely been ignored,

  • Marshalls to pressure US for service access - US needs to increase the funds it makes available to the states, or make Marshallese citizens eligible for federal programmes.


  • MICRONESIANS: Heine, a director with Honolulu's nonprofit Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and Graham, a consultant and researcher based in Majuro, say understanding what drives Micronesian migration will foster greater understanding of its pressures on resources here.Among the notables at the two-day conference is also the chief justice of the Federated States of Micronesia, Andon Amaraich, who will discuss the Compacts of Free Association.While Micronesian migration seems a recent phenomenon — and for purposes of this discussion, that includes nations falling under the compacts, including the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands — it goes back to before Hawai'i was even a state, said Graham."(It) was predicted as far back as the 1960s," said Graham. "With limited growth, once access to the U.S. opened, we knew there would be heavy and intense migration for education and employment."



    INVISIBLE: Looking specifically at those populations that are the least likely to benefit from the nation's overall decrease in cancer deaths, the report finds the unequal burden is highest among African Americans, where cancer deaths are 35 percent higher in black men and 18 percent higher in African American women than in the general population. However, Native Hawaiians now have the second highest overall rate of cancer in the U.S., the highest death rates for stomach cancer, and the highest incidence and death rates for endometrial cancers. Moreover, American Samoans have a higher relative risk for cancers of the nasopharynx (especially men), stomach, liver, lung (especially men), uterus, thyroid and blood while all the Pacific jurisdictions (Republic of Palau, Guam, American Samoa, Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas) except the Federated States of Micronesia list cancer as one of the top three causes of death.





    HAWAII: “Our side is open and willing, and now the Marshall Islands side is, too,” English said. “Good progress between Hawaii and the Marshall Islands can get results and it will be difficult for the (United States) federal government not to support it.”The three freely associated states — Marshall Islands, Palau, Federated State of Micronesia —and Hawaii “are on the same page and now (Congressman) Eni Faleomaega is on the page,” English said. “I’m excited because things are lining up. Our combined forces are much greater than one alone.”Hawaii is seeking U.S. federal government reimbursement of tens of millions of dollars the state says it is paying to provide education and health services to migrants pouring into Hawaii from these western Pacific nations that are closely associated with the U.S. Hawaii spent more than $91 million of services to freely associated state citizens, but received only $10 million reimbursement from the federal government in 2006, English said.English said his aim is to create a situation where “we have measurable outcomes. It will give more ammunition for the Hawaii (congressional) delegation.”



    STATES: The Marshalls Foreign Minister, Tony de Brum, says the US needs to increase the funds it makes available to the states, or make Marshallese citizens eligible for federal programmes.“If the idea of allowing Marshallese citizens to enter the United States was to provide for some of the short falls of the territorial administration this is not doing the trick, because it is causing additional problems, not only to the so-called migrants, but also to the community where they reside.” Tony de Brum says the Marshalls is in the process of setting up a consulate general in Arkansas, where there is a large Marshallese population, to deal with problems of eligibility there.

     

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