Arkansas is home to the largest concentration of Marshallese on U.S. mainland
Apr 28 2015
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), who represents a state that is home to thousands of people with roots in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, released the following statement on Iran’s seizure of a Republic of the Marshall Islands Vessel.
“I am deeply disturbed to learn that Iran has seized a ship that was flying under the flag of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Senate is currently debating our nation’s responsibility to prevent a nuclear capable Iran. As this conversation continues, Iran’s seizure of this vessel must not go unnoticed and should be characterized as an unprovoked act of aggression upon a civilian cargo vessel. These events take place in the context of serious maritime dispute in the region, as the U.S. Navy is working to prevent Iran from delivering weapons and supplies to terrorist organizations operating in the Middle East. While this is a rapidly evolving situation, our country should make clear that an affront to the security of vessels operating under the flag of the Republic of the Marshall Islands will not be tolerated. I will continue to monitor this situation as events unfold.”
The United States has a unique relationship with the Marshall Islands. In the aftermath of World War II, the Marshall Islands was a U.S.-administered United Nations Trust Territory. In 1986, the Marshall Islands entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States and became a sovereign, “freely associated” state. Under the Compact of Free Association the United States is obligated to defend the Republic of Marshall Islands against attack or threat of attack. The United States also maintains unique military basing rights in the Marshall Islands that extend through at least 2066. The security and sovereignty of the Marshall Islands is important to our country and to the thousands of Marshallese who have planted roots in Arkansas.
Since the 1980s, thousands of Marshallese have legally migrated to the United States, and the largest concentration on the U.S. mainland is in Northwest Arkansas. In addition to its Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Republic of the Marshall Islands also has a consulate in Springdale.