Bills Would Make COFA Migrants Eligible For Scholarships & Eligible For Volunteer Police Reserve
Guam – Vice-Speaker BJ Cruz has introduced two bills that aim to provide for better equality for compact migrants. One bill will allow COFA citizens to qualify for certain locally funded financial aid programs at the University of Guam and the other bill would allow COFA migrants to join the civilian volunteer police reserve.
Vice-Speaker BJ Cruz has introduced bill 61 which would allow Compact of Free Association or COFA migrants to qualify for local scholarships to the University of Guam. “I’ve been trying to push for they have to be here for education or for work. If they’re going to be here for education then let’s assist them. If they’re going to be here for this community then we need to assure that we give them the best education possible and we assist them.”
Cruz says that GovGuam has been denying COFA migrants the tools to become constructive productive and contributing members of this community. His bill would allow COFA migrants to be eligible for merit awards, the Jesus U. Torres professional and technical award, access to higher education financial assistance, Doc Sanchez scholarships, nursing training, Doctor Antonio C. Yamashita Teacher corps, and the Every Child is Entitled to a Higher Education Scholarship.
The Vice-Speaker has also introduced bill 65 which would allow COFA migrants to join the volunteer police reserve which is something they are currently restricted from doing. “We need people to ride along out there to assist in translation in being the good role models for people out there and so I really would like to see that we have them out there to assist in the translation in being the good role models for people out there,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
Cruz likened Guam’s situation to that of Ferguson, Missouri in which the U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report about the way in which black people of Ferguson were treated by it’s police. “When COFA citizens make up 15 percent or 18 percent of the community and we have none of them in the police force we have none of them…we may have a Ferguson report so I’d like to be ahead of this curve and address it in a whole series of legislation that we’ll be introducing this week,” said Vice-Speaker Cruz.
Cruz hopes that by lifting these types of restrictions and barriers more COFA citizens will have the tools necessary to become good role models for other COFA migrants.