Trump order could affect free associates
As Puerto Rico gets ready to vote again on its status, and US Representative Luis Gutierrez (D) of the 4th District of Illinois introduces a measure to force independence on the US territory, this bit of news became relevant. It turns out that with the new federal administration, the compacts of free association the United States has with nations like Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia can be unilaterally affected.
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.
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.
In Puerto Rico, the debate over status is still at an immature stage, with proponents of free association denying despite all evidence that it amounts to a form of independence. Nonetheless the effect of choosing that status alternative would be clearly in line with the effects of independence from the United States.