19 Sep 2011

Micronesian leaders call for US to read report before restricting migration access

7:59 pm on 19 September 2011

Micronesian leaders are calling on the United States government to consider a migration report due out in the next few weeks before clamping down on access to the US.

The US Government Accountability Office report is expected to provide data on the scope as well as the impact of immigration from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

The US Senate is driving a move to restrict the visa-free access that's part of the Compacts of Free Association between the three northern Pacific states and the US.

Our correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson, says the report will include recommendations for the US Congress.

"Presumably the GAO will have a lot of information in their report as well as options and this is one thing that the island leaders have been saying, is let's wait for that report so at least we can have a more informed conversation about the situation and see where to go."

Giff Johnson says there's a feeling in the Marshall Islands that its longstanding special relationship with the US is no longer recognised by Washington.