On Monday, December 17, 2018 President Donald Trump signed H.R. 3398, the REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States Act authored by Alaska Congressman Don Young.
“I thank President Trump for his signature on this legislation and what it means for the future of Freely Associated States (FAS) citizens,” said Congressman Young. “This bill provides a common-sense solution to a burdensome issue for law abiding FAS citizens. With this bill now signed into a law, an oversight has been corrected which will provide more stability for these residents. I appreciate the support from the FAS leaders, my colleagues in Congress and this Administration.”
“President Donald Trump signed into law H.R.3398, the REAL ID Modification Act for the Freely Associated States Act, an important legislation that allows Marshallese living in the United States and its Territories to receive real compliant Identification cards and driver licenses,” said President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Hilda C. Heine. “On behalf of the Marshallese People, and in particular those that have made the United States and its Territories their second home, I wish to convey my sincere gratitude to Congressman Young for his tireless efforts in championing this important legislation. The legislation will further allow the Marshallese People to productively participate in communities where they reside. Thank you Congressman Young, a lasting friend of the Marshall Islands who fully understands and recognizes the special and unique relationship that exists between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States.”
“On behalf of the citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia living in the United States of America, I extend to President Trump, the sponsors and supporters of the REAL ID modification bill in both the House and the Senate our sincere appreciation and warm thank you,” said President of the Federated States of Micronesia Peter M. Christian. “The signing of this bill into law will make life much easier for our citizens to obtain state identification documents and drivers licenses. Furthermore, it provides a clear statement by the United States that it fully recognizes the privileges extended to our citizens who are lawfully residing in the United States pursuant to the Compact of Free Association.”
“This is a genuine display of your commitment and support for Palau and our neighbors of FSM and RMI. Congressman Don Young, we cannot thank you enough for your endless and continued support for Palau and the Freely Associated States,” said President of the Republic of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. “Please know that our citizens living in the United States, Alaska in particular, truly appreciate what you have done. The amendment to the Real ID Act that you championed will help our citizens tremendously. We are forever grateful and appreciative for all the hard work you put in making H.R. 3398 a reality. Thank you so much.”
H.R. 3398, the REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States Act, amends the Real ID Act of 2005. When Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, no reference was made to the Freely Associated States, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau (FAS) as among those classes having “lawful status” for the purpose of the Act. Instead, reference was made in the definition of “State” to the “Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands” (TTPI), an entity that has not existed since 1994. While that reference served no operative purpose, it did show Congressional intent to include FAS citizens under the Act. This legislation aims to solve that issue. The REAL ID Act Modification for Freely Associated States Act amends the Real ID Act of 2005 to permit Freely Associated States (FAS) to meet identification requirements under such Act.