WASHINGTON, DC (KFSM) — On Wednesday (Feb. 13) U.S. Senators John Boozman, Tom Cotton, and Congressman Steve Womack introduced a resolution recognizing the strategic importance of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Marshallese people who live in the U.S.
Sen. Boozman said, “This resolution acknowledges the unique partnership our country has with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the need for this support to continue. To better meet their needs it is necessary to better understand and account for this population calling the U.S. home, making the 2020 census crucial to this goal,” says Sen. Boozman
The largest concentration of Marshallese people living in the U.S. is in Springdale, Arkansas.
Since the 1980s, when the Marshall Islands became a sovereign state with the U.S. under the Compact of Free Association (COFA) in 1986, thousands of Marshallese have legally migrated to North America. The COFA is up for renewal in 2023.
The 2010 census estimated 4,324 out of the 22,400 Marshallese individuals living in the U.S. resided in Arkansas. The population in 2019 is expected to be between 8,000 to 14,000.
The lawmakers say the 2020 census is important for the Marshallese people residing in the U.S. to better serve them and the cities they live in.
“The large Marshallese community in Northwest Arkansas is a constant reminder of the close relationship our nation shares with the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Just as the people of Arkansas and our Marshallese neighbors continue to strengthen their friendships, so the United States ought to continue bolstering its own relations with their home republic,” Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said.
“The Marshallese in Springdale and across Arkansas enrich our state. This resolution highlights the contributions of the Marshallese and the important relationship we have built and shared as a community,” Congressman Steve Womack said.
In addition to its embassy in Washington, D.C., the Republic of the Marshall Islands also has a consulate in Springdale. The largest populations of Marshallese residing in the U.S. today live in Arkansas and Hawaii.