U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Ed Case want the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to work with Congress to ensure citizens of Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia can obtain federally approved driver’s licenses in the U.S.
All three nations have defense treaties with the U.S. that allow the U.S. military to control their air space and surrounding waters. As part of the agreements, citizens of the Pacific nations can live and work in the U.S. without visas.
The change sparked confusion and frustration in Hawaii as many were denied driver’s licenses and state IDs. Most don’t have those documents, as they aren’t required to enter the U.S., and there’s a six-month delay in obtaining employment authorization documents.
Gabbard and Case sent a letter Tuesday urging DHS expedite employment authorization documents and work with Congress toward a long-term solution.
“It makes no sense for these citizens seeking a REAL ID card to be required to provide a visa or an EAD when the Compacts approved by law do not require them to have either,” the congress members said.
The letter was sent along with Reps. Don Young of Alaska; Rob Bishop of Utah; Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; Aumua Amata from American Samoa and Michael San Nicholas of Guam.
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