April 25, 2011
Congressman Sablan's bill, H.R. 1466 has yet to be reviewed by the Fitial Administration according to his press secretary, Angel Demapan. That is unbelievable. For an Administration so opinionated and anti-worker that they sponsored rallies and motorcades, against federalization and status, we should believe that no one read the bill. Really? Well, here is the link to the bill. It's very short and can be read in less than 10 minutes.
I am sure that the governor and others have read the proposed legislation. More likely they have not commented because they have to wait for Deanne Seimer to ghost write their response to it, and she is currently very busy attacking the Federal Ombudsman's Office.
I discussed the bill with some colleagues to try to get a neutral perspective, and some of their comments were enlightening.
One person questioned, "How can a bill provide status for those who produce U.S. citizen children? What about people who are infertile or medically unable to have children? Why are they being punished for not having children?"
Another colleague agreed it was improper to propose a sub-class that promoted disenfranchisement for long-term workers who would not be able to vote or travel to the U.S. without a visa. They asked if the logic was to try to keep the workers in the islands to work, but not to advance as full citizens.
They also agreed with the comparison to apartheid since there are voting and travel restrictions.
a·part·heid (-pärtht, -ht)
1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
3. The condition of being separated from others; segregation.
The crime of apartheid as defined by international law includes in part this statement: "Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups.
It is my belief that this sub-class, (FAS-type status) more resembles the principles of segregation and an apartheid-type status than democratic American principles. (See also this post.)
An in-depth analysis on CNMI immigration status for legal long-term workers by Robert J. Misulich stands as another important voice in urging the United States Congress to right the wrongs of the flawed CNRA that excluded the provision for permanent status for the long-term CNMI guest workers.
Rob Misulich, a J.D. Candidate at the University of Washington, wrote an article for the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal Association entitled, A Lesser-Known Immigration Crisis: Federal Immigration Law in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It was published in January 2011. This well-researched and well-written article analyzes the provisions of CNRA, and actions and inactions of Congress and the DHS. It makes a strong and clear argument for Congress to pass additional legislation granting permanent resident status to long-term CNMI guest workers.
Read it here:
Political Status of Guam and CNMI
Then there is the question of political status of the CNMI and Guam that is always up for review by elected officials including CNMI's Rep. Stanley Torres and Guam's self-determination supporter, Senator Judy Guthertz.
In March 2011, Rep. Torres introduced House Bill 17-7 that proposed to "create a commission that will revisit the Covenant and look at an 'alternative' political and economic status for the islands."
Guthertz introduced a bill in Guam calling for a non-binding plebiscite on reunification of the CNMI and Guam.
The Guam Senator said that Rep. Joseph Palacios wanted to introduce similar legislation in the CNMI, according to the Marianas Variety.
Some CNMI officials views were reported in the Saipan Tribune.
It is interesting that both Guam and CNMI officials' discussions center on the residents' opinions, and omit that such a discussion should include the views of those who fund both the CNMI and Guam -- the American taxpayers.