The participation from COFA Communities in TX with Federal and State agencies was as good as expected. We had two State Legislator staffs representing Kileen, TX, along with Federal USCIS branch under the Department of Homeland Security and State Department of Public Safety who produces Driver’s card.
We engaged with both the Federal and State State Representatives including; Lisa Daughtry from TX Department of Public Safety, Jacuqe Crouse from USCIS Regional Office in TX, District Director Lucy Taylor from Rep. Scott Cosper’s office (District 54) Kileen, TX. We presented to Jacque Crouse of USCIS and Lisa Daughtry of TX State Department of Public Safety regarding Oregon State’s S. 374, which allows COFA residents in Oregon to keep their 8 years State Driver’s and ID cards with an option to apply for the One Year Federal ID in order to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005. Another option for the purposes of REALL ID Act is for COFA citizens to continue to use their valid passport for purposes of traveling via airports and access to Federal buildings. Both Lisa and Jacque were appreciative and interested about this Oregon model as an idea to explore that may bring solution to TX-COFA residents.
Referencing Oregon State Senate bill 374:
Another important person that was here is James Naiche, Chief of Mission for the FSM Embassy to Washington, DC. He did an incredible presentation about the COFA treaty and why this issue of One year license occurs. James gave a shout out to CANN about the wonderful success we have in Oregon and continue to help other States.
We watched a new film called “Island Soldier” that presented the true story about Kosraen enrolling and living the significance of the COFA relationships and dedications to US Military. It also highlighted the possible ending of the Compact of Free Association fundings from the US in 2023, regardless of the continuing US military relationships with the Micronesians and COFA Island Soldier. The sacrifice that these men and women from Micronesia, which enlist to military at the highest per capita in compare to all 50 states, is another point made in this powerful film.
Much was covered today about the importance of building relationships between COFA communities and Policy makers. CANN Texas did a great job of branding CANN as seen there on the photo of their hats that they passed out to all attendees today.
Another great news we received today was from Sen. David Panuelo at FSM that there is already an allocated funding for CANN in FY2018!