Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Letter on Federalization

The Federalization issue in the CNMI continues to heat up, and as usual the politics that are taking place at the Pentagon and in Congress that has to do with the territories such as the CNMI or Guam, have little to do with the interests of these islands.

The Federalization issue, from the perspective of the Feds is purely an issue of national security and also making it possible for the Department of Defense to take advantage of the labor pool of the CNMI as they look to build up Guam. Here we see a sort of unholy union of liberal activism which seeks to get fair treatment for alien workers in the CNMI, being used as a cover in order to recolonize the Mariana Islands, and prepare them for levels of militarization not seen in two generations. I am still regularly awed by how people, from Guam and not from Guam, can say with straight faces and without blood leaking from their eye sockets, that there is nothing wrong with the way Guam exists politically in relation to the United States, the Feds and the military. Or that there is nothing wrong with what they call in Congress, the "state-like" treatment that Guam gets, and therefore there is no reason to complain or seek any changes.

Despite these assertions, we should really do a headcount of how many residents of states would want to have 30% of their land as military bases, or would be perfectly excited and happy if the military was planning to turn their entire region into one big military camp?

At present the Federalization bill is being snuck into the larger Omnibus bill, in hopes of avoiding any debate or problems with its passage. For those interested in conserving the sovereignty of the CNMI I am pasting below a letter through which you can help their cause. I should say before continuing that I am not endorsing the way alien workers have been treated in the CNMI. The issue at stake with this letter, if there is to be a restructuring of the relationship between the CNMI and the Feds in terms of immigration, it should not be done in the shadows or in secret, with hopes that no one will read or care about what it actually says or is doing. That is why the form letter below is addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and requests that the Federalization bill be taken out of the Omnibus bill and treated as a distinct issue, requiring its own debate and vetting.

Honorable Senator Joseph R. Biden. Jr.
United States Senate
201 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3703

Sent by facsimile (202) 224-0139 or

Dear Senator Joseph Biden, Jr.:

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen, regarding S.2483(Title 7), the Immigration, Security and Labor Act that was passed in the House of Representatives in December 2007 (H.R. 3079) and is being fast-tracked as part of the Omnibus bill. As members of the Senate, I urge that S.2483(Title 7) be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee to be closely reviewed as a stand-alone bill, paying particular attention to its discriminatory nature of the economic and human rights impacts on the people of the Mariana Islands.

Ø S.2483(Title 7) is discriminatory by directly targeting the people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and creating greater economic hardships. H.R. 3079 will further the level of poverty by creating more barriers to the development of a local economy, which relies heavily on tourism and investors of tourism[1].

Ø S.2483(Title 7) infringes upon the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples of the CNMI, whose political status was negotiated upon the termination of the United Nations trusteeship. The political rights were determined to be governed by the solemn Covenant, which granted local control of labor and immigration and also in collaboration with the United States. H.R. 3079 would give control of labor and immigration to the Department of Homeland Security, thus undermining the mutual trust and cooperation that has endured for decades.

Ø S.2483(Title 7) may violate the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. With reports of upwards to 50,000 workers during a 5 to 10 year period that H.R. 3079 may provide to companies seeking a quick means for cheap labor[2] for the intensified military buildup in the CNMI and the neighboring island of Guam, the question remains of the burden on the infrastructure[3],[4] and the resources that is not accounted for by Congressional Budget Office.[5]

Ø S.2483(Title 7) enables abuses of the human rights to self-determination of the Chamorro people of Guam by providing a means to expedite the military buildup that was decided without their consent and participation and against the legal and moral responsibility of the U.S.A, as a signatory of the United Nations Charter, to ensure the full exercise of these human rights.[6]

I urge you to review closely S.2483(Title 7) as single and separate matter from the Omnibus Bill, and to reconsider the facts put forth before you for the sake of peace and stability in these islands and for the human rights of self-determination to which we all are entitled.


[1] Fitial, Benigno (2007, August). Speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 3079
[2] Dumat-ol Daleno, G. (2007, December 13). NMI Bill Passes in the House. Pacific Daily News
[3] Environmental Protection Agency Civil Case 02-00035
[4] Environmental Protection Agency Civil Case 02-00022
[5] Congressional Budget Office (2007, December 3). Cost estimate prepared for H.R. 3079 Northern Mariana Islands Immigration, Security, and Labor Act.
[6]United Nations (2001 March 22) Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: Report of the Secretary-General, A56/61

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