• Jon B. Comstock

Give the Marshallese a path to U.S. citizenship!

Monday Matters - July 13 - Let's Offer U.S. Citizenship to the Marshallese!|


ACTION STEP: Will you join me in reaching out to Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton and U.S. Representatives Steve Womack and ask them to immediately introduce legislation in the Congress that provides a prompt path for members of the Marshallese community to become citizens of the United States? If yes, here is contact link for each of them:

https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me

https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=contact

https://womack.house.gov/contact/

Honorable [Senator/Representative]:

I am hopeful you share the determination of the American people to take intentional action now to address in a meaningful way our Country’s regretful conduct towards communities of color.

We in Northwest Arkansas have an opportunity to lead the nation in calling out collectively that it is past time that we give due respect and honor to our Marshallese community living amongst us. Please introduce legislation immediately in the Congress that will offer a path of U.S. citizenship to the largest contingent of Marshallese outside the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

While you likely know some of the story of the Marshallese, it may be helpful to be reminded of the following relevant facts (with many more available with little effort):

(a) While the Marshall Islands were providing actual physical security to America between 1946 and 1958, American detonated sixty-seven atmospheric nuclear bomb tests on the northern Marshalls – resulting in permanent injury to their homeland and their physical and mental wellbeing.

(b) Despite having lived for generations on healthy foods diet, the destructive chemical impact of our weapons necessitated that the diet of the Marshallese changed to high-fat low protein foods imported from the United States – which account for an incredibly high rate of heart disease and diabetes and cancers. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas warned many years ago that some experts believed the entire population may be immune compromised.

(c) By the terms of the Compact of Free Association, they may travel freely as migrants to America on just a passport, without visa or work permit. Islander children born in the United States are conveyed citizenship – but no path of citizenship is provided for the thousands who migrated to NWA.

(d) They cannot qualify for Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security though they pay taxes that help fund all of these programs. Arkansas’ Department of Health tells us that some of the worst health outcomes plague the Marshallese – who often don’t have access to health care. Recently, while they make up no more than 3% of the NWA population, they have suffered half of the COVID-19 deaths so far in this region.

The Marshallese came to the Ozarks to experience the dream of building a future for their families. Let’s help them build that future as full citizens of their home – America.

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