The authors, like Fitial and the federalization fighters, are promoting the false notion that PL 110-229 will result in the exit of the foreign workforce by 2014. Since this is not true much of the biased report is based on a faulty premise, and is clearly propaganda meant to support the federal lawsuit. Here's an example:
Applying federal immigration laws will result in the deportation of most of the foreign workers in the CNMI. This will affect not only the visitor industry but every business that employs aliens. At the peak of the economy in 2004, foreign workers accounted for about 70 percent of the CNMI workforce. Starting in 2009, deportation will proceed in steps until the process is completed in 2014.The authors apparently have been drinking from the Fital Kool-Aid. As federal officials have pointed out numerous times, this is a false statement. Unfortunately, since most of the report is based on this myth, the report is baseless and is not credible.
If the federal government deports three out of every four workers in the visitor industry, who will make the beds, serve food, and mow the lawns?The authors wrote:
On average, local workers earned $24,423 per year, compared to only $7,292 for foreign workers.22 While the incomes of foreign workers were well below the average income, they were high compared to what the workers would have earned back home.As if making more in a place where commodities and essentials cost far more, and there is no family support system is such a bonus for foreign workers. The authors ignored the fact that thousands were cheated of those paultry wages as the $6.1 million in unpaid judgnments that was collected this year demonstrates.
The “relief” scenario assumes that the federal government gives back control of the minimum wage and immigration to the CNMI (Tables 13 and 14). With no restrictions on the use of foreign labor, the visitor industry will be able to expand as much as market conditions permit.The scene calls for "Congress to reverse its position and returns control of the minimum
wage and immigration to the CNMI. The minimum wage remains at $4.05 per hour,
at least for two or three years." Sounds like a page ripped from the Fitial federalization fighters' play book.
The return to local control over the minimum wage and immigration would allow the visitor industry to expand, making up for some of the jobs lost during the downturn of the apparel industry. If the visitor industry grew at a 5 percent annual rate between now and 2015, the economy would have close to 32,000 jobs,
about twice the number of jobs in the federalization scenario. The economy would still be about one-fifth smaller than it was at its peak in 2004. But compared to the federalization scenario, the economic and social suffering would be much more manageable.
On a positive note, the tables and charts are interesting and informative.