Let the Games Begin! (Or continue...)

April 28, 2011

After a town hall to discuss CNMI issues, including the merits of a bill that was already introduced earlier this month, two high level CNMI politicians, Governor Fitial and Congressman Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan, are exchanging barbs concerning H.R. 1466, the CNMI-only immigration bill.

The phrase, "good luck" is being used sarcastically by both elected officials. The Saipan Tribune reported:
Fitial said he wishes Sablan “good luck” on his H.R. 1466 which he said he would want amended, while Sablan also wished Fitial “good luck” in amending his bill.

“That bill will never fly, or will never be considered by the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Congress is not stupid to enact a new law when they already have an existing law that would address those issues,” Fitial told reporters in an interview at his newly renovated office on Capital Hill.

But the governor also said he will offer an amendment to the bill, specifically removing the retroactive date of May 8, 2008 in connection with the fourth group of people covered in Sablan's bill.

This fourth group is the immediate relatives-such as parents of U.S. citizens regardless of the age of the U.S. citizens as of May 8, 2008-and who have been in the CNMI until the bill's enactment into law.

“In other words, it will be prospective, not retroactive,” he said.

Initially, Fitial said his amendment is “only to chastise the author” of the bill, which turned out to be a joke. He then proceeded to his proposed amendment.

“My amendment is to make sure that that act, if it is ever enacted, will be effective on the date it is enacted. In other words, anybody before that date is not entitled to (the proposed status),” Fitial said.
I would have thought the governor would have embraced this legislation. It contains everything he supports: continued disenfranchisement of the majority of the adult population of the CNMI; no green  cards or pathway to citizen for those who worked in the CNMI for years and even decades; no mention of the theft of wages or reparations; the continuation of the dysfunctional, undemocratic CNMI system under the federal label; no loss of power for the corrupt elite; the retention of the problematic two-tiered society; and no political, social or economic advancement for the nonresident workers.  In fact, if I didn't know who wrote it, I would have thought it was drafted by the Fitial Administration.

There is too much rhetoric, and too little fact in this discussion. Who in Washington, DC ever said that the subject of less than 18,000 LEGAL nonresident workers was a "toxic" subject? What is wrong that those in positions of power cannot distinguish between legal and illegal nonresidents or aliens?  Are we to believe every person who has been elected is incapable of making this simple distinction? This is extremely hard to believe.  Again people LEGAL, NOT ILLEGAL. School children can understand the difference, but we are to believe that politicians in Washington, DC cannot? Pathetic.

Other statements are also conflicting and confusing.  Congressman Sablan stated that H.R. 1466 would provide security and stability for nonresidents with families and has expressed his concern with "keeping families together." Of course, he means only certain nonresident worker families that have a U.S. citizen among its members. All other families of nonresident workers are excluded.

Yesterday Congressman Sablan was quoted in the Saipan Tribune as saying that "there would be no mass deportation of workers":
“Workers will be fine,” he told reporters yesterday. “DHS will have no reason to send everybody home.”
Good luck is indeed needed, but not to pass a faulty, discriminatory bill that promotes disenfranchisement, and the perpetuation of a two-tiered society. Good luck is needed to ensure that the hardworking long-term LEGAL nonresidents of the CNMI are granted green cards with a pathway to citizenship.

11 comments:

Jianan Ma said...

Is immigration a toxic issue in Washington? Is it true there is no distinction between “legal’ and “Illegal” aliens? Is that true you can find the same definition to the words: “legal” and “illegal” in US Dictionary of Immigration Laws? I only know Arizona laws fight against illegal aliens. Only now I know all the aliens in CNMI are treated as illegal nonresidents. If not? Why “ a toxic issue”? I don’t know Washington will think HR 1466 is toxic or not? But I know Washington will think immigration IS NOT A TOXIC ISSUE if Kilili has a new bill for LONG-TERM LEGAL ALIENS group because it’s for 110-229!

Jianan Ma said...

Is immigration a toxic issue in Washington? Is it true there is no distinction between “legal’ and “Illegal” aliens? Is that true you can find the same definition to the words: “legal” and “illegal” in US Dictionary of Immigration Laws? I only know Arizona laws fight against illegal aliens. Only now I know all the aliens in CNMI are treated as illegal nonresidents. If not? Why “ a toxic issue”? I don’t know Washington will think HR 1466 is toxic or not? But I do know Washington will think immigration IS NOT A TOXIC ISSUE if Kilili has a new bill for LONG-TERM LEGAL ALIENS group because it’s for 110-229!

Green Cards for All! said...

There is a certain logic to Fitial's proposal, similar to Heinz Hofschneider’s “Follow the Rules” 2005 campaign slogan when he surpassed the corrupt Babauta (who refused a primary, allowing Fitial to narrowly prevail).

As sympathetic as most may be to the IRs of U.S. citizen children, in a few years these parents will get LPR eventually anyway, when the oldest turn 21 and they (or the parents) have sufficient income.

So it is essentially a retroactive “gift”, provided as a reward for agitating and protesting, a salve or reparation for purported “abuse” that is both overinclusive and (as Wendy eloquently likes to point out) underinclusive.

On the other hand a prospective change in the law would be a new “contract”, part of the bargain under which current and future workers would be recruited to and retained in the CNMI. It would give these workers CNMI permanent residence (if they put down roots and procreate). As such, it would be a vast improvement over year-to-year contracts, and would serve to attract and keep more highly skilled workers than is currently the case.

At its core, Kilili's proposal seeks to reward past presence here, while Fitial's seeks to reward future presence.

Which is more important to restoring the CNMI to economic vitality after the ravages of federalization?

Which is more important to making those with guilty consciences feel a bit better?

A deal is a deal.

Wendy said...

Green Cards for All

Both ideas are inadequate and both fail the long-term nonresidents workers. The sad thing is that a proposal to keep long-term workers disenfranchised would even be introduced to the U.S. Congress in 2011. I would like to think that we learn from the past and improve as time progresses. That is not the case here. This bill promotes maintaining a two-tiered society on U.S. soil. Until the legal, long-term nonresidents are given green cards and a pathway to citizen, the U.S. should accept the criticism from the international community and shame that will certainly be a result at its failed policies towards immigrants and nonresident workers.

It's not your money! said...

"Ravages of federalization"? LOL!

ROF is at the bottom of a l-o-o-o-ng list of causes of the local economy's decline:

--Article 12
--JAL's pullout
--Red flag beach closures
--Rampant prostitution and sleaze
--No effective zoning code
--Lax enforcement of all laws and regs protecting tourists, workers, and the environment
--The culture of corruption turning potential investors away
--The total lack of any planning for tourism industry
--The most unreliable and expensive electrical power under the U.S. flag
--Bankrupting of the economy by the governor hiring unnecessary no-show workers
--The legislature passing laws to further bankrupt the Retirement Fund with lavish benefit giveaways
--Not spending $50 million in CIP funds, which could have created jobs and stimulated the economy
--Dead, bloated, fly-covered dog carcasses littering the roadways
--Slobs who leave piles of litter every weekend at public beaches and pavilions
--Giving all the private-sector jobs to low-wage alien workers and excluding locals from those jobs
--Allowing the vast majority of private-sector earnings to be remitted overseas, instead of letting them stimulate our local economy

And did I mention Article 12?

Wendy said...

Thank you It's Not your Money for a great comment!

Anonymous said...

"That bill will never fly." --Gov. Ben Fitial

Isn't that what he said about the federalization bill?

Anonymous said...

"It's not your money" - you missed the most important factor in the downturn of the CNMI economy. In fact the event(s) marked the beginning of the downturn. It was the opening of the new Guam hub, and the transfer of all Continental's direct flights from Saipan to Guam over the following two years. No flights = No tourists. But good list nonetheless.

the teacher said...

I would add our banks taking our deposits and sending that money to Guam and Hawaii to stimulate their communities.

Anonymous said...

The transfer of the proposed CO maintenance base on Saipan to Guam was due in no small part to the attempted "extortion" of Continental and aggressive bargaining by Senator Pete P. Reyes and friends for more benefits to the CNMI.

Why not? Indeed.

Anonymous said...

corruption, nepotism, studpidity sums it up.