The Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice has released an infographic aimed at dIspelling commonly held beliefs about Micronesians living in the United States.

"Many people carry misconceptions about Hawaii’s Micronesians and their access to federal poverty programs. To sort out these facts, we have created this infographic," the agency said in a July 23 email.

Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau can reside in the U.S. under the Compacts of Free Association, uder which the U.S. military can operate in those countries in exchange for U.S. government disaster assistance, weather and postal services and some economic benefits.

The key facts LEJ seeks to publicized are these:

  1. As U.S. residents present under the Compacts of Free Association, Microneseans pay all local, state and federal taxes that fund the social programs that give families access to food, health care and other basic needs.
  2. Despite their paying a full share of taxes, these residents are barred from receiving benefits from major social safety-net programs no matter how long they live in the U.S. These programs include Food Stamps, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and federally susidized loans for education.

"The fact is," the LEJ release says, "our Micronesian residents cannot benefit from many of the very same programs that they help pay for. In other words, Micronesians support non-Micronesiand through their tax dollars -- not the other way around."

In 1996, the U.S. Congress removed Medicaid benefits for resident aliens from Micronesia, while most other resident aliens have a five-year waiting period.

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