Tuesday, October 2, 2012

FSM citizens demand solutions to passport application problems: possibility of special polling place in Kansas City?

In a meeting with President Manny Mori, FSM citizens stressed concerns about undergraduate scholarship, passport application processing, questions of dual-citizenship,the designation of special polling places for FSM National Government general elections, and the termination of financial assistance to the FSM under the Compact of Free Association with the United States.

FSM students at Park University front the President's meeting
held at the Park University Chapel
Held at the Park University Chapel in Kansas City on September 30, the meeting brought together over one hundred FSM citizens residing in Kansas City and a few others from nearby areas in a forum that allowed for exchanges between the President, members of his delegation and some of the citizens for whom Kansas City has been their "home" for some time.

One of the primary concerns raised by FSM citizens at Neosho and Kansas City centered on how to satisfy requirements for notarization of passport application without the possession of any valid photo identification document. FSM Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Asterio Takesy, acknowledged that this has been a "chicken and egg" dilemma for citizens without any ID trying to renew a lost or otherwise invalid FSM passport. One of the speakers at the meeting expressed that some FSM citizens are stuck in a situation where their passports can not be processed because the notary public would not notarize application forms without valid ID. Getting an ID card, including a driver's license, requires use of one's passport.

Citizens also asked for clarifications with regards residency privileges beyond 2023 as many of them heard "rumors" of a "must go back home" compact requirement that would kick when the compact expires. In response, it was pointed out that only the economic assistance under the compact have a built in termination date of 2023. The compact, including defense responsibilities and residency privileges would remain unless the whole agreement is called off by either the United States or the Federated States of Micronesia.

Sr. Anita Helgenberger posing a question during the meeting.

Before the meeting took place, President Mori took a tour of the Park University campus and met briefly with Michael Droge, Ph.D., president of the university.

President Mori taking a tour of the Park University Campus with FSM students and Mr. Michael B. Hernandez, Director of
International Student Services.

President Mori had dinner with the sixteen FSM students attending Park University, listening to their interests and concerns and encouraging them to "go all the way" in pursuing highest level of education, building the pathway for success and future leadership. "Your country needs you", the President said.

The recent survey of FSM citizens in the U.S. shows an increase in number of FSMers in the state of Missouri. Some residents in Kansas City and Neosho believe FSM citizens in Missouri now exceeds two thousand.

For question, write to Marz Akapito at markapito@gmail.com.

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