13 Feb 2017

Trump order could affect free associates

6:33 pm on 13 February 2017

President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order that could affect entry to the United States of people from countries in free association with the US.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump Photo: AFP

The Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau are all in a Compact of Free Association with the US.

The order could also affect those citizens of freely associated states currently living in the US or its territories.

At present, these citizens qualify for visa-free access to the US.

The draft executive order, published last week by the Washington Post, aimed to "ensure the US does not welcome individuals who are likely to become or have become a burden on taxpayers."

The order would also direct numerous agencies of the US federal government to focus on identifying aliens resident in the U.S. who are "public charges" - meaning those on welfare or related programs.

It also targeted what it called "birth tourism" - people who traveled to the U.S. to give birth so their children gained U.S. citizenship.

Over the past two years, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo has voiced increasing concern over the large number of freely associated state citizens who he says have stretched Guam social service funding to "breaking point."

Guam is a US territory.