Please reprint this letter to the editor that was written by my father, late Justice Ramon Garrido Villagomez. This letter was published in 1998, ten years before President George W. Bush signed PL 110-229, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.
To the readers of my father’s letter, please pay special attention to the nine promises the CNMI government made to the United States government in 1998. Not a single one of the promises was kept. These broken promises explain why the federal takeover was necessary and probably should have taken place a decade ago.
Also note how the CNMI government was fully aware in 1998 that allowing guest workers to become long-term residents without gaining the right to vote was immoral and unfair. If the situation was wrong then, logically it must be even worse twelve years onward.
Despite the latest protests that the federal government is violating our indigenous rights and self-determination, the fact remains that promises were made and promises were broken. There was a time when the CNMI’s arguments for continued control of immigration had merit. That time has passed. It is now time to move the Commonwealth forward. Looking backwards is counterproductive.
The contract workers who have lived on Saipan more than five years have earned the right to petition for United States citizenship. I stand by my father’s words and offer my support in helping the long toiling contract workers become the newest members of the American family.
Angelo O’Connor Villagomez
Winter Park, Florida