So why Federalization now?
Well, this was in the Marianas Variety today:
Stayman: Military build-up a factor in drafting federalization billWhen the buildup in Guam begins in the next few years, the military is going to need thousands of workers. Federalization allows the Feds to kill two birds with one stone.
By Gemma Q. Casas
Variety News Staff
THE anticipated U.S. military build-up in Guam and the Pacific Region was among the major considerations in the drafting of the CNMI immigration federalization bill, according to Allen Stayman, senior staff member in-charge of insular affairs of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
In an e-mail, Stayman said the increased military activity in the Pacific region was seriously considered in drafting S. 1634, or the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act.
“Increased military activity in the region is one of several considerations supporting federal legislation,” he said.
First, Guam gets thousands of workers. If you are one of the tens of thousands of foreign workers currently working in Saipan, are you going to prefer working in Saipan for $3.05/hour (soon to be $3.55/hour) for only 32 hours/week (due to the economy) or in Guam for probably more than $7.00/hour including overtime hours? I don't think the choice is hard. As soon as the workers get their non-immigrant visa, I'm sure they'll ship off to Guam (or Hawaii, California, or New York).
Second, the Feds get to say they actually did something about the abuses in the CNMI. It will mean that American citizen children won't have to return to the Philippines when their parents' contract runs out. It will also silence George Miller and Nancy Pelosi. Guam, Hawaii, and the Mainland are big enough to absorb these workers when they leave the CNMI, so who really cares if a measly ten thousand people get a visa?
I will make a few predictions if Federalization occurs:
There will be a period where the number of foreign workers leaving the CNMI will outnumber the number of foreign workers coming in. The locals will become the majority. The economy will be in shambles. Gas prices will be through the roof.
Basically, it will be 1975 again.
What will we do? Will we take that opportunity to invest in human and social capital or will we allow our leaders to blow it on lap dances in Manila (again)?
The CNMI has an opportunity to reinvent itself. Hopefully we will pull out of the Third World economy that we currently have (huge gap between rich and poor, no hope of social advancement, etc.) and we will start to grow our service sector and our knowledge sector. Like I said, Hopefully.