Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges DHS to Eliminate Undue REAL ID Requirement for FAS Migrants

June 11, 2019
Press Release
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) along with Sen. Mazie Hirono and Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation, as well as U.S. Rep. Don Young (AK-at large) led a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services along with other Members of Congress from communities impacted by the DHS’s April 2019 rule which imposed additional requirements on migrants from the Freely Associated States (FAS) to obtain REAL ID-compliant identification.
The letter asked that the unnecessary and unfair requirement be eliminated. The requirement has imposed serious hardships on FAS citizens and stoked serious concerns from FAS governments—critical national security partners of the U.S.
“Thousands of people who have come to the U.S. legally are struggling to get the identification they need to get a job, go to school, and travel—all because of a bureaucratic mishap that can and should be fixed immediately,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The current DHS rules make no sense, especially in light of my legislation we passed in Congress and enacted into law to specifically ensure that FAS migrants are able to secure the identification they need, respecting the Compact agreement between them and the U.S.”
Background: The 2005 REAL ID Act erroneously cited a defunct agreement that preceded the Compact of Free Association which allows the citizens of three nations, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia to live and work in American states and territories without visas or employment documents. Hawai‘i is home to thousands of COFA migrants.
This letter follows a letter from last month that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard led which also included Senator Hirono as well as Rep. Don Young.
Last year, Reps. Don Young (AK-at large) and Tulsi Gabbard led bipartisan legislation to provide a technical fix to the REAL ID Act and ensure that COFA migrants would be eligible for the now required identification. The legislation was signed into law by President Trump.
However, April 2019 DHS guidance requires COFA migrants to produce documents not required by their migration status in order to obtain their REAL IDs. REAL IDs are necessary for a range of things which have significant impact on the day-to-day lives of individuals including employment, travel, participation in federal programs, and entry to federal buildings.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawaii’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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