WASHINGTON (December 5, 2017) – Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech has announced that Guam’s 2018 share of Compact Impact funding, $14.9 million, is being provided to the Government of Guam for costs associated with providing education, public health, and public safety-related services for the residents of the territory. Guam Governor Eddie Calvo has requested the use of $6.7 million towards school building lease payments and $8.2 million towards offsetting government operational costs.
“I am pleased to allocate these funds to cover the costs of priorities identified by Governor Calvo on behalf of the federal government,” said Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech. “This funding is allocated by Congress to help Guam address impacts on public services by residents who hail from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshalls, and the Republic of Palau, and ultimately helps bolster public services for the people of Guam.”
Compact Impact Assistance to Guam for fiscal year 2018 will support the following:
Under the Compacts of Free Association first approved in Public Law 99-239 (1986) and Public Law 99-658 (1994), and later amended in Public Law 108-188 (2003), citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau are legal nonimmigrants allowed, for indefinite periods of time, to live, work, and study in the United States without a visa. The final Compact agreement in 1994 terminated what was then the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, providing the U.S. with important strategic denial rights to the western Pacific region between Guam and Hawai‘i. In 1996, under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, nonimmigrants living and working legally in the U.S. under the Compacts were deemed ineligible for federal public benefits. Thus began what has been a rising concern for the Governments of Guam and Hawaii, as U.S. ports of entry in the Pacific, who have directly borne the cost of public services related to migration under the Compacts, often referred to as “Compact Impact”.
In 2003, the U.S. Congress allocated $30 million annually to Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa to assist in defraying costs due to increased demands placed on health, educational, social, or public sector services, or infrastructure related to such services due to Compact Impact. The funds are currently distributed using a ratio allocation based on a 2013 U.S. Census Bureau enumeration. Per that enumeration, there are an estimated 17,170 Compact migrants on Guam, roughly ten per cent of Guam’s total population. The U.S. Census Bureau is conducting a new enumeration expected to be completed in 2018.
Under current law, Compact Impact funding expires in 2023.
The Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas carries out the administrative responsibilities of the Secretary of the Interior in coordinating federal policy for the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and administers and oversees U.S. federal assistance to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association. The Assistant Secretary executes these responsibilities through the Office of Insular Affairs.