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Resolution

Support for Micronesians Living in the United States

WHEREAS, the United States since 1947 held administrative oversight of the Micronesian islands region ("Trust Territory") under the United Nations' "Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands" with the stated objective "to promote the development of the inhabitants of the trust territory toward self-government or independence," "to promote the economic advancement and self-sufficiency of the inhabitants," and "to protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources" (Trusteeship Agreement for the Former Japanese Mandated Islands, 61 Stat. 3301, 80th Cong. (1947)); and

WHEREAS, between 1947 and 1958, while overseeing the Trust Territory, the United States conducted extensive nuclear testing on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls (Marshall Islands) with a total yield of 108 megatons, the equivalent of dropping 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for the entire 12-year period; and

WHEREAS, the United States entered into a Compact of Free Association ("COFA") agreement with the independent nations of the Federated States of Micronesia in 1986, the Republic of the Marshall Islands in 1986, and the Republic of Palau in 1994; and

WHEREAS, the COFA agreement established the foundation for reparations by stating that the United States "accepts the responsibility for compensation owing to citizens of the Marshall Islands or the Federated States of Micronesia for loss or damage to property and person or resulting from the nuclear testing program which the Government of the United States conducted in the Northern Marshall Islands between June 30, 1946, and August 18, 1958" (Compact of Free Association of 1985, 99 Stat. 1770, 99th Cong. (1986)); and

WHEREAS, the United States continues to rely heavily on the COFA nations as part of its national defense strategy demonstrated by its exclusive military control over the entire Micronesian region, significant financial investment in the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands; and

WHEREAS, the COFA agreement allows citizens of these nations free and relatively unrestricted travel to the United States in order to work and establish residence; and

WHEREAS, Micronesians have suffered tremendous harms to their homeland and health, and continue to suffer discrimination in America through policies and rhetoric that discriminatorily target Micronesian communities thus exacerbating the health disparities faced by Micronesians legally living in Micronesia and the United States, including high rates of diabetes and cancer; and

WHEREAS, large communities of Micronesians are legally living in Hawaii, Arkansas, Washington, California, and Oklahoma under the COFA agreement; and

WHEREAS, the United States failed to fulfill promises made to Micronesian migrants from the COFA nations legally living in the United States (and its territories), as demonstrated by the denial of certain federal benefits, including Medicaid, under Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 which restricts welfare and public benefits for aliens; and

WHEREAS, Congress considered legislation that would include the restoration of federal health benefits for Micronesians through S. 2474, called the "Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012" (A bill introduced on April 26, 2012 to improve the health of minority individuals, and for other purposes, but was not enacted.); and

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People cannot remain silent while persons in the United States suffer harms and injustice through the absence of protective laws and benefits, coupled with the presence of racism and anti-immigration sentiments.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People affirms its support to Micronesians legally living in the United States under the COFA agreement; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People through its staff and/or volunteers demonstrate such support through written statements to members of Congress for redress of COFA migrants by calling for an amendment to Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 to permit Medicaid coverage for citizens of the Freely Associated States lawfully residing in the United States under the Compacts of Free Association between the Government of the United States and the Governments of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

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