LETTER TO THE EDITOR

admin's picture

FROM: Samuel F. McPhetres (samuel.f.mcphetres@saipan.com) TO: hulsena@ewc.hawaii.edu SUBJECT: Compacts of Free Association DATE: September 15, 1998

I certainly welcome the open discussion going on now concerning the future of the compacts. As one who was a part of the political education program during the negotiations and who was the coordinator for United Nations affairs for the last ten years of the Trusteeship, I see this dialogue as essential to the education of all parties.

A note on Steve Pruett's contribution. He mentions the compact impact on Guam and Hawaii. As is not uncommon, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has been inadvertently overlooked. The number of FAS (freely associated states) citizens, especially Chuukese, has increased considerably on Saipan since the compacts were implemented. And since the local government has declared that FAS citizens are locals for the purpose of meeting employment quotas in the garment factories, Saipan has become a very attractive destination.

The question that comes up here relates to the status of FAS citizens in the CNMI upon expiration of the Compacts. Since federal immigration does not (for the moment) apply, what will be their status if the free movement provision no longer applies? And, of course, all three major target destinations (Hawaii, Guam and the CNMI) would like to have a say in any future negotiations that affect them in this regard. There is also a concern that if Guam implements the new INS recommendations on habitual residence, many FAS citizens may move from Guam to Saipan rather than return to their homes of record, thus exacerbating a real/perceived socio-economic problem in the CNMI.

Sam McPhetres Current: Self-employed consultant, author and college instructor Peace Corps Director, Chuuk 1970-72 Education for Self Government (TTPI) 1973-1981 Trust Territory Archivist (1981-1990) Coordinator for International Organizations (1981-1990)

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment