18 Jul 2011

Military build-up plans foment tension around migration issues on Guam

6:58 pm on 18 July 2011

The executive director of Guam's Humanities Council says there's been growing tension around issues of migrants due to the US military build-up plans.

Dr Kimberlee Kihleng says the US Defense Department's draft Environmental Impact Statement on its plan to transfer 8000 marines to Guam contained some unfortunate language about migrants and Micronesians in general.

Guam has been seeing a growing number of migrants since the 1990s and immigration has become a contentious local issue.

Dr Kihleng says that more informed dialogue is needed about it.

"The Draft Environmental Impact Statement really spoke to that issue in somewhat racist terms; some of the issues that are going to be happening in terms of whether it's violence or whatever, is going to be associated with migrants from Micronesia and actually Chamorros. So I think there's been a lot more tension around that as the impending expansion becomes closer."