Thousands of Marshallese living in the US may be reacting to President Donald Trump’s executive actions relating to immigration by ordering updated passports from the RMI Attorney General’s office. The number of passports produced from January to March more than tripled compared to the same three-month period last year, with many of these passports being renewals from Marshallese living in the US.
An AG office official said many of the renewals are for people who had allowed their passports to lapse, some for quite a number of years.
On the flip side, 40 percent of the passports that are being made at the AG’s office are for Marshallese who haven’t ever had a passport.
During March a number of people report an increased number of people boarding the United Airlines flight to Hawaii. The number of one-way bookings to the US was described last month as “unprecedented.”
The February-to-April period generally sees a spike in Marshallese outbound to the US because it coincides with tax refund time in the US. Many Marshallese living in the US use their tax refunds to assist relatives to join them in the US.
In the first quarter of 2017, the passport division staff at the Attorney General’s office produced nearly 3,500 passports — this was more than triple the same period a year ago.
Between January 1 and March 31, 2016, only 983 passports were made, partly due to the fact that the one passport machine was broken.
Read more about this in the April 7, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.