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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Marianas Variety Editorial

A Brief History on the Federalization Threats

A DECADE ago during the Teno administration, the following disaster led to the current predicament we all face today. A true sign of failure, ignorance and self-interest hidden political agendas and was the sole basis and reason why the local control of immigration and labor was recently stripped by the U.S. Congress.

The elected leaders, lawmakers and business community who had been involved with today’s disaster are still sitting in office, some seeking re-election. We say STEP DOWN and retire immediately before you bring further destruction to our homeland.

Feb. 22, 1999: Senate President Paul Manglona and Speaker Diego Benavente flew to Washington D.C. to join Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio to thwart off fresh attempts by the Clinton administration, seeking a federal take-over of the CNMI immigration and labor local control.

According to Senate President Manglona back then, the meeting with key congressional members and staffers was an opportunity for island leaders to provide report on the tight financial situation of the government as well as various reforms implemented by the Teno administration in the past year. Our government came under fire anew two months prior over the alleged failure of our local government to curb number of Asian migrant workers on the island (non-resident guest workers); charges repeatedly refuted by CNMI officials with reports of accomplishments of labor and immigration reforms.

A quote to a reporter by Speaker Benavente: “We always felt that we do not have a serious situation here and it’s always easier, I feel, for anyone to understand that when they come here and see for themselves,” (meaning the U.S. Congress).

TAOTAO TANO states the following; does the current predicaments we face today a result of not having a serious problem? Our indigenous local U.S. citizens who were host to thousands of non-resident guest workers had remained unemployed and untrained to take on those positions that required special skills. Why? Our people had been disrespected and insulted by foreign non-resident guest workers demanding citizenship in our homeland, why? Mayhem and uncertainties now taking place. Did our leaders then do anything to prevent such predicaments? Keep reading and you shall find out.

May 3, 1999: After meeting with key members of U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. the CNMI Legislature hoped to continue reform measures to deal with concerns on local labor and immigration in an attempt to block a federal takeover proposal.

Sept. 15, 1999: Senate President Manglona, and Speaker of Benavente along with Governor Teno Testified on S. 1052 in Washington, opposition the application of federal immigration law to the Northern Marianas. Our leaders warned that such a legislation would have adverse impact on the CNMI economy, further stating that S. 1052 was not the vehicle that would further the interest of the commonwealth. Governor Teno led the CNMI delegation comprised of administration officials, members of the Legislature and representatives from the business sector — the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and HANMI.

TAOTAO TANO states that our leaders are still using the same excuse, the ECONOMY! The real question is did they do anything to correct the labor and immigration problems? Did any of our leaders do anything to better prepare the CNMI with alternate industries in case of a federal takeover?

Keep reading — the truth is getting closer and interesting.

Remember, today the same leaders who were opposed to such federal take-over of our immigration and labor are now in full support, to include the Speaker Benavente, now the chair of the House Foreign and Federal Relations Committee.

Full support, for they failed the CNMI tremendously.

Feb. 8, 2000: Our elected leaders stepped up campaigns opposing automatic federal takeover of our labor and immigration control. U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by then Frank H. Murkowski, R-Alaska, and two other ranking Democrat members, a bipartisan bill that sought automatic implementation of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act in the commonwealth for serious concerns on the alleged failure of our government to curb the INFLUX of migrant workers from Asian countries as well as impact of such policy on employment opportunities for LOCAL U.S. residents. An opportunity which led to prioritizing foreign guest workers in our homeland instead of U.S local residents.

Lobbying then was Speaker Benigno Fitial and the Teno administration in opposition to federal takeover. Also in full support of opposing a takeover was then Senate Floor Leader Pete P. Reyes.

Feb. 9 2000: Passage of takeover bill in U.S. Senate “A Wake Up Call,” says Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Lynn Knight.

Feb. 15, 2000: TAOTAO TANO states, that while an impending federal takeover bill was headed to the U.S. House our elected leaders along with the business community came up with their version of how to fix our labor and immigration.

They repealed Public Law 11-69, the three-year stay limit for all nonresident workers in the CNMI — 30,000 nonresidents back then to be exact, holding more than 90 percent of the jobs in the private sector. Rep. Diego T. Benavente was confident then that the legislative branch would move swiftly to amend Public Law 11-69.

Feb. 2001-April 2001: A campaign both elected leaders and the business community ensued to repeal Public Law 11-69 the three-year stay limit for all guest workers.

Those heavily involved in such a disastrous move were Speaker Fitial, Sens. Pete Reyes, Paul Manglona, Ricardo Atalig, Edward Maratita, David Cing, Rep. Diego Benavente and then-Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Anthony Pellegrino, who now operates the TRADES School educating and training our local U.S. residents.

TAOTAO TANO states could it be that he felt GUILTY for leading our people to their own detriment by aggressively fully supporting repealing Public Law 11-69 to appease 30,000 nonresident workers?

Also supporting the repeal of the stay limit we’re Lynn Knight, Tan Holdings executive representing the CNMI in D.C. as authorized by Governor Fitial and not by the will of the people of the commonwealth, and then HANMI president Ronald Sablan, now in charge of medical referrals.


July 4, 2001: Governor Teno gave a significant pre-Liberation Day present to 30,000 non-resident guest workers plus continued recruitments ultimately flooding our gates with foreign workers in the commonwealth by suspending Public Law 11-69 in its entirety.

TAOTAO TANO states that instead of correcting the alleged INFLUX of nonresident workers in our homeland, a serious concern with U.S. congressional members, the individuals involved had sought making our own U.S. local residents JOBLESS and a MINORITY in their own homeland, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Since then our immigration and labor control has gotten worst. Major problems with human smuggling, human exploitation, labor abuse, sham marriages, illegal document processing and so forth were rampant. But again, TAOTAO TANO still maintains that it is beyond comparison to that of third world tortures and atrocities. Still, this is a huge failure on the part of our leaders for not rectifying a long problematic immigration and labor local control and prioritizing the need for foreign labor.

To all of you my fellow voters, I ask that you seek deep in your heart and think hard this upcoming election and let us not make the same mistakes over and over again. We must change these veteran elected officials who have led us to such uncertainties and mayhem and make that change this coming November once and for all in order to fix what is broken. Vote those that are willing to take on the challenge for Change, for the betterment of our people, our community and our homeland as a whole in the pursuit of a higher standard of living as intended in the spirit of our Covenant with the United States.

Taotao Tano






Tuesday, October 30, 2007


THE House of Representatives adopted a resolution yesterday expressing support for Guam Legislature’s Resolution 80 which strongly opposes the two pending CNMI federalization bills in the U.S. Congress.Evelyn Fleming, House clerk, said House Joint Resolution 15-38 was adopted via a voice vote with only a few nay votes.“I heard some nays,” she said.Except for House Floor Leader Florencio T. Deleon Guerrero, D-Saipan, all members of the House were present yesterday.Offered by Rep. Absalon Waki Jr., Covenant-Saipan, H.J.R. 15-38 echoes the anti-federalization position of the Fitial administration.HJR 15-38 calls on the U.S. Congress to order a “careful and professional study of the commonwealth before the enactment of legislation such as H.R. 3079 (and S. 1634) to provide current and reliable information” about the current state of the economy, workforce, changing population and labor and immigration programs.The House resolution said the study should assess too the economic, political and social consequences of pre-empting CNMI immigration and labor laws and substituting a federally managed guest worker program in the commonwealth.The U.S. Congress instructed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study following the hearings on S. 1634, the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, and H.R. 3079, the Northern Mariana Islands Immigration, Security and Labor Act.Guam’s 15 senators sponsored Resolution 80 and subsequently adopted it on Oct. 10.The Guam senators said they fear the influx of more migrants from the CNMI to the territory.H.R. 3079 and S. 1634 will grant long-time guest workers a one-time nonimmigrant status privilege that will allow them to freely travel, work and study anywhere in the United States and its possessions.Guam senators said the economic development to come along with the planned military buildup on their island will likely attract migrants from the CNMI to their territory.The U.S. military estimates Guam will need at least 15,000 more skilled workers for the construction of facilities to house the 8,000 U.S. Marines and their 9,000 dependents who will be relocated to the island from Okinawa, Japan, starting 2012.But the Guam senators said the relocation of more outsiders to their island will have a negative impact on their resources.“The increase in U.S. armed services, combined with the need for temporary labor to support such increases and the granting of nonimmigrant status to temporary workers in the commonwealth for general admission to the United States, including Guam, will further significantly impact the demography of the island of Guam” and place stress on Guam’s social and natural environment, Resolution 80 states.The Guam senators asked their delegate to the U.S. Congress, Madeleine Z. Bordallo, “to actively oppose the passage of H.R. 3079 and S.1634 or any other similar measure” that may be introduced in the U.S. Congress.Additionally, they are asking the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to advise the U.N. Committee on Decolonization of their position on the issue.“The sentiments expressed by the Guam Legislature are in harmony with the feelings of the CNMI Legislature,” said Waki.The CNMI and Guam’s resolutions will be forwarded to President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. military officials and the U.N.

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