Putting Abercrombie & Aiona in the hot seat, Part 9: Reimburseme - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Putting Abercrombie & Aiona in the hot seat, Part 9: Reimbursement for Micronesian immigrants

Kim Gennaula interviews Neil Abercrombie Kim Gennaula interviews Neil Abercrombie
Kim Gennaula interviews Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona Kim Gennaula interviews Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona
Kim Gennaula Kim Gennaula

By Kim Gennaula

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the late 1980s, the "Compact of Free Association" between the U.S. Government and Micronesia gave citizens of Micronesia the right to freely enter the United States to live, work and get health care.  But it was with the understanding that those costs would be reimbursed.

This discussion is about compassion and conflict.  Hawaii wants to continue to have Aloha Spirit for our neighbors from Micronesia but both candidates for governor say it's coming at an extremely high price to our state.

Lt. Governor James "Duke" Aiona explains, "It is taxing us. It's taxing us to the tune of about 130 million dollars per year.  When the American government entered into that compaq with the federated states of Micronesia, they specifically stated that this compaq was not meant nor will it be a burden to the individual states of the United States of America."

Neil Abercrombie furthers, "As a result the federal government has mandated the states, not just Hawaii but other states as well, and territories like Guam to have to deal with those issues out of revenues in that state and that's what you're referring to and they are inadequate."

Abercrombie was on the committee that helped create the treaty and says he's upset that the government hasn't lived up to its promise.  He points out, "We can reach out to the Congress, reach out to the president of the U.S. and ask for the kind of assistance that's mandated by this treaty".

Aiona says they've already tried that approach.  He informs, "We've pleaded with our congressional delegation for all of these years, they've just ignored it.  We have asked them from the beginning of our administration to please look at this inequity and compensate us appropriately so that we can deal with it. Because while we're compensating our friends from Micronesia at the same time, especially in these last 3 years, we haven't been able to give the residents of the state of Hawaii that same opportunity."


Is there anything they wish they could change about their past performance?  We ask the candidates for governor what they could have done better to serve the people of Hawaii while in office.  And one of the says he has a regret that still bothers him.  Find out what that is in Part 10.


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