Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Call Your Senators Today!

The Federalization of the CNMI is still very much an issue, and right now we need people around the United States to call their Senators to inform them about how it is being snuck into a larger bill without adequate hearing or vetting.

Here are the links if you are interested in getting involved, and I'm pasting below a sample phone transcript to help inform you about the issue:

Click here for the telephone numbers of Senators on the Judiciary Committee
A letter to the editor of the Guam Variety on the Federalization Issue
A letter calling on all friends of the Marianas to contact the Senate Judiciary Committee
A letter to the Senate against Federalization
Articles on the Federalization issue from Minagahet
CNMI faces "Federal Typhoon" article from Guam PDN
CNMI borders are a "Security Risk" article from Guam PDN
Letter to the editor of the Saipan Tribune on Federalization


Dear Senator:

As a registered ____________________________(for e.g. California voter and indigenous to the Mariana Islands), I would like call your attention to an item on today’s Senatorial agenda, omnibus bill S. 2483. At first glance, it looks to be non-controversial, however, upon closer inspection, Title 7, which has passed in the house under HR 3079, is an unjust and controversial

The fact that:

1) it is hidden amongst bills that seem non-controversial will circumvent much needed public debate on the federalization issue of immigration and labor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

2) it is concurrently introduced with 2 other Omnibus bills (S. 2616, and S. 2739) is a way to fast-track the bill in order to increase its chances of passing before current administration’s term is over and before the General Accounting Office releases its report on the impact of the bill.

Some of the controversies surrounding Title 7 of S. 2483 (S. 2616, and S. 2739) are:

1) It is discriminatory. It proposes to finalize an immigration and labor policy for a region that does not have a voting member in the Senate and even before a bipartisan agreement (spearheaded, most notably, by Senator Kennedy and Senator Specter) for a national immigration and labor policy has been developed.

2) It undermines the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples of the CNMI and the mutual and trust and cooperation that has endured for decades between the governments of the CNMI and the United States of America. (The political rights of the inhabitants of the CNMI were determined to be governed by the solemn Covenant, which was negotiated upon the termination of the United Nations trusteeship and which granted local control of labor and immigration).

3) It puts at risk the human rights to self-determination of the Chamoru people on Guam, by enabling a means to bring in a large workforce in order to expedite the $10 billion military buildup currently ongoing without public scrutiny and without the consent of the indigenous people.

The proponents of this bill will argue that the CNMI is not fit to govern themselves because of human trafficking and labor abuses and that those arguing against Title 7 have special interests.

Because of the controversy surrounding this bill, I urge the Senator that it is not too late to set a date for a public hearing for Title 7 in order to shine a light on the facts in full view before this Honorable Body. Moreover, because those of us who care for justice and who view the restructuring of the relationship between the governments of CNMI and the USA, in terms of immigration, as a serious matter, I strongly believe that Title 7 should not be dealt in the shadows or in secret, but using a democratic fashion with a public hearing and proper notification for those of us who are traveling from as far away as the Mariana Islands, which this bill will greatly impact.



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