Migration Patterns  Bottom

  • Seen some negative comments in other threads about number of Marshallese migrating to Hawaii who are either unable to work due to medical problems or have no intention of working, and then becoming "wards of the State."

    Frankly, Marshallese are simply making smart choices and targeting where to go when they leave the US.

    I believe Hawaii offers the most generous package, for an State, of assistance to the destitute, and certainly appears to offer the best no-cost medical coverage for FAS migrants. This must be balanced with a very high cost of living. So, not a surprise that Marshallese (and Micronesians and Palauans) who have no intention of working but want to live in the US move to Hawaii and learn quickly from those who preceeded them about how to access State financial, home, and medical assistance programs.

    Those Marshallese who want to work, not surprisingly, go to places like Arkansas and Oklahoma, which (like Hawaii) offer many low paying jobs but (unlike Hawaii) have a corresponding relatively low cost of living. If you get sick, the medical treatment you receive if not insured may not be as good as in Hawaii, but you have a much better chance of owning your own home or condo, driving a car, and having a few luxuries.

    Those who are not sure which way to go probably gravitate toward Oregon and California.

    These are smart choices in response to widely varying economic and medical realities in the different US States. Marshallese are proving that lack of formal education does not mean lack of intelligence - they are making rationale choices based on their motivation for migrating.

    Perhaps in the future, WUTMI, or another NGO (maybe with a US grant!) will take a tip from Mexico and publish an easy read guide in Marshallese, to assist those Marshallese - who are seeking medical help, job opportunities, or other targeted goals - in selecting the best State for their migration home. See Mexico's publication, translated into English, here http://dallas.org/node/108.

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
  • I think another attraction to Hawaii of course is that it's an Island certainly nothing like the Islands back home but one none the less. I moved to Arkansas myself but mainly to make life easier for my wife as I travel to customer locations during most of the week days. I have visited many Marshallese in Hawaii, California, Oregon, Texas, Arizona and Arkansas. Each location poses its own challenges and opportunities.

    It would be interesting to see a study on the immigration patterns, difficulties and successes. I have one cousin who has excelled at his job while another is stuck in the trap of Welfare.



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  • Roger, LaKevin, I am sure many factors enter into decision of "where to settle." That said, I am confident that if a unbiased study is done, it will find that Hawaii generous (in comparison) medical, housing, food assistance, and other benefits - as well as mild climate - are major attractions to those with no ambition other than escape from unemployment in the RMI to somewhere that offers a better standard of living than being unemployed on Majuro or Ebeye.

    And if you are poor and need kidney dialysis or other extensive medical treatment to live - but can beg, borrow, or save enough for a one way plane ticket to HNL, that has to look like a good option.



    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
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