U.S agreements with Pacific islands are set to expire this year and Hawaii’s congressional delegation is urging action.

An impasse has exposed Hawaii’s financial burden in paying for assistance for legal migrants.

U.S Rep Ed Case says after negotiations under two administrations, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau have signed agreements to renew the Compacts of Free Association for 20 more years, but now it’s stalled in Congress.

Hawaii and Arkansas represent the two states with the largest number of COFA migrants.

In a letter, Case, U.S Rep. Steve Womak, of Arkansas, and others are urging Congress to act.

“An element of the agreements that are before Congress right now require the federal government to assume financial obligations, which they have not assumed for the compact residents in our state,” said Case, D-Hawaii.

Josie Howard is CEO of We Are Oceania, a nonprofit that serves Micronesia and Pacific Island Communities.

“It’s kind of scary and I think it’s really unfortunate. It’s sad for people like me, and like the many of us who are out here, because that decision will impact our life,” said Howard.

“I don’t want to one day have to go back home because our government changed partnership dramatically,” she added.

We Are Oceania says there are 20,000 to 30,000 thousand Pacific migrants in Hawaii.

“If you take Hawaii for example which was getting about US$15 to US$16 million a year to assist us with the needs of our compact residents, but those needs amounted to US$100 to US$200 million a year for Hawaii. That’s obviously a huge burden that we should not have have to bear,” said Case.

The nonprofit has worked with at least 300 who were displaced by the Maui wildfires and are not eligible for assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency even though they are in the U.S legally.

“That’s fundamentally unfair. That is an obligation that the federal government should cover as they do anybody else who is legally in our country,” said Case.

Case says the defense part of the agreement would continue, but there are still implications impacting security in the Indo-Pacific.

“China would love nothing more than to put a military base in Palau or elsewhere and they’d love to get closer to Hawaii for that matter which the Marshall Islands is,” said Case.

U.S Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, is also urging an agreement with her colleagues.

“Failure to pass the renegotiated Compacts as soon as possible imperils our relationships with the Freely Associated States and the entire Pacific Island region, who view the COFA as a barometer of the U.S. commitment to the region,” she said.