Congressperson Mink From Hawai'i Introduces Legislation Pertaining To Education Of Micronesian Children In U.S.

WASHINGTON D.C., US (Yokwe Online): June 12, 2002 - Representative Patsy Mink of Hawai'i introduced legislation last month that would allow schools to count Freely Associated States children living in the United States for the purpose of obtaining impact aid funding.

In her address before Congress, Mrs. Mink stated that in "exchange" for the "sacrifice" of military alliance and defense measures, the U.S. has given the FAS citizens the right to freely enter the United States without visas and establish "habitual residence."

According to the Representative, 115,247 Micronesians now live in the U.S. and the "public schools accept the financial burden for educating Micronesian children, even though the federal government created this obligation and should pay for it."

Mrs. Mink declared that it is unfair to make the innocent Micronesian children unwelcome pawns of our national defense policy. "Our nation is responsible for the education of these children in exchange for the military benefits our nation currently receives from Micronesia."

House Resolution 4787 proposes to categorize children from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau, who are residing in the US, as "military dependents." This would allow schools to count them to obtain Impact Aid funding. Schools should not pay the cost of our defense strategy, stated Mrs. Mink.

The current 8003 section of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides additional funding to schools with children who reside with parents employed on federal property, whose parents are foreign government officials, or military officers, whose parents are on active duty with the military, who reside on Indian lands, and who reside in low-rent housing.

This bill is needed to fulfill the "obligation created by the Compact of Free Association," Congresswoman Mink concluded.

Hawai'i and U.S. Pacific territories have been making a cooperative and concerted effort to obtain more compact impact aid while the Compact II negotiations are still in progress.