Apparently, the U.S. Census Bureau, the very agency that's in the middle of preparing to conduct Guam's Census 2020 population count, which occurs every 10 years, has made a huge mistake in Hawaii.
Based on Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's account, the Census Bureau undercounted the number of Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau and Republic of the Marshall Islands citizens living in Hawaii for two prior years.
The error has resulted in the Department of the Interior's reported plan to compensate Hawaii for the error by providing the state with additional funding for hosting regional migrants under the so-called Compact-Impact reimbursement program. The Compact-Impact funding is congressionally approved and provided each year to help Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa to reimburse the host jurisdictions for the cost of providing public services to migrants from the FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
While we're not questioning the federal government's plan to give Hawaii more Compact-Impact funding to make up for the error, this shouldn't be done at Guam's expense.
But this is exactly what the Interior Department plans to do, according to the Office of the Governor of Guam, based on information from the department.
The governor's office has been informed that instead of receiving close to $17 million a year for Compact-Impact funding, Guam will get a reduction of $4 million every year, for the next three budget years, so that the money can be used to make up for the funding shortfall in Hawaii.
In addition to the governor recently sending a letter calling out the department for its decision, Del. Michael San Nicolas and his counterparts from Hawaii, the Northern Marianas and American Samoa are also working to seek assistance from leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate so that Guam will not lose future Compact reimbursement funding over the federal Census Bureau's error.
The Interior Department should know taking money from Guam is wrong.
Making one mistake on top of another is not right.