January 20, 2014
As we commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, we should be reminded that civil rights, human rights and equal rights must be respected, upheld, and expanded.
For the last few years I have watched with astonishment and helplessness as the United States of America has allowed these rights to be attacked and weakened. Members of Congress, governors, state legislators and other elected officials have led the charge to take hits at these rights like some drunken party goers swinging blindly at a piñata.
Will we allow this dangerous attack to continue or will we realize that we are destroying what is good and admirable about our nation? As civil rights, human rights and equal rights diminish, racism, hatred and prejudices grow.
Racism, hatred and prejudice thrive everywhere on U.S. soil, but perhaps no where more than in the CNMI. The Saipan newspapers are full of news about CNMI officials, indigenous rights supporters and others attacking the foreign workers. Many reader's comments in the Marianas Variety are full of unjustified anger and bigotry directed towards the foreign workers and their families. House Resolution 18-34 is just one of the latest disturbing examples of xenophobia and intolerance that spews from the pens of CNMI leaders.
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for Civil Rights was not a fight that was confined to gaining equality for black Americans; it was a fight for equality for every group who struggles against discrimination on U.S. soil. Immigration is today's civil rights issue; it is the most urgent domestic issue that faces our nation today. Every person of conscience in our country should be fighting for just immigration reform; every person in the CNMI should be fighting for just immigration reform.
No rational and moral United States citizen would object to any of the CNMI's legal, longterm nonresident workers gaining permanent residency status. Isn't it ironic that the only people who do are the very people who benefited most from their decades of dedicated labor, and loyalty?
Dr. King said, "A right delayed is a right denied."
The CNMI's legal, longterm nonresident workers have had their rights denied for decades. The DREAMers, those innocent aliens brought unknowingly and
innocently to the United States as children by their parents, are another group of immigrants who have been unjustly denied rights and deserve an immediate pathway to citizenship. For both groups justice is long overdue. Let us hope their rights will be achieved this year.