“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
H.R. 1466 takes our country back to a dishonorable and shameful time in our nation's history. It is utterly amazing that members of the U.S. Congress who promote themselves as champions of immigration reform and advocate for undocumented aliens would support such unjust, un-American and undemocratic legislation.
The similarities between laws that were implemented after the Civil War and H.R. 1466 are striking. H.R. 1466 proposes to grant about 1/4 of the 16,000 legal, long-term nonresident workers a CNMI-only status. No other state or territory has their own status under the INA, and for good reason.
The long-term foreign workers of the CNMI have been considered as labor units for decades. Under H.R. 1466 they will remain as a disenfranchised underclass, as labor units chained to the CNMI. The discriminatory status would restrict travel and deny them of political, social and economic rights just as the post-Civil War Black Codes kept the freed slaves as second-class citizens unable to serve on juries, vote or hold public office. Under the Black Codes, some states forbid social mobility, prohibiting freed slaves from entering certain states. Similarly H.R. 1466 would prohibit the "freed" nonresident workers from entering the United States or leaving the CNMI.
The Black Codes were rooted in pre-Civil War slave laws, just like H.R. 1466 is rooted in the old CNMI labor and immigration system, which aimed to keep nonresident workers denied of political, social and economic rights. Under the Slave Codes, Black Codes, P.L. 17-1 and H.R.1466 people are viewed as labor units, instruments or tools to fuel the economy, rather than as human beings deserving of human and civil rights.
While we see the Obama Administration take a firm stand on issues of gay rights, the national immigration debate concerning undocumented aliens, the struggling economy and other issues, we certainly do not know where this Administration stands on the issue of providing a just and democratic status for the legal, nonresident workers of the CNMI. Absent from the discussion has been a concrete suggestion or position from the U.S. Department of Interior with one singular recommendation. The only response was this ineffectual remark from the testimony of Nikolao I. Pula, Jr. Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior who testified at that July 14, 2011 hearing:
H.R. 1466 is consistent with the Secretary’s report in that it would give long-term status to more than 5,000 of these persons.Where in the DOI Report did it suggest that the U.S. Congress was to address only 1/4 of the 16,0000 nonresident workers!?
Would the Administration tell Congress to decide whatever it wants concerning undocumented aliens, tax cuts, or health care? Or to address the needs of only some Americans and exclude 3/4 of them? Never! Why then does this appear to be the case on this issue? The Administration is failing the long-sacrificing legal nonresident workers and should be held responsible for perpetuating their plight as much as the misguided U.S. Congress must be. How shameful that the Administration of our country's first elected African-American president, President Barack Obama, would suggest that it backs a law that reflects the same provisions of the Black Codes!
Usually democratic societies advance forward, but H.R. 1466 takes us back to a shameful time in our country's history when segregation and discrimination were legal. Stunning.
Apartheid-Type Legislation X 2, March 31, 2012
H.R. 1466 Removed From House Calendar, December 15, 2011
Humanitarian Crisis Grows, November 4, 2011
As Focus is on Alabama, Immigration "Champions" Ignore the Plight of CNMI Foreign Workers, November 3, 2011
OCCUPY USICS Picking Up Steam, October 28, 2011
Congressman Gutierrez: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, October 23, 2011
CW Program: Detours from the Road Map October 22, 2011
H.R. 1466 Co-Sponsors Must Explain! August 28, 2011
Stop the Nonsense: Fix H.R. 1466! August 16, 2011
Message to Foreign Resident Workers, August 13, 2011
Unresolved Immigration Issues, August 11, 2011
Shameful Legislation, August 9, 2011
Written Testimony of W. Doromal, July 14, 2011, July 28, 2011
Fitial-Willens on H.R. 1466, July 26, 2011
Immigration is an Issue That Belongs to Every American, July 3, 2011
Hearing for H.R. 1466 scheduled for July 14th, June 22, 2011
Delivering A Message in Washington, DC, May 10, 2011
CNMI Status Debate Continues, May 5, 2011
Let the Games Begin...or continue, April 28, 2011
Some Thoughts on Status, April 25, 2011
Sablan Introduces Immigration Bill, April 21, 2011