After years fighting for federalization, human rights advocates should be alarmed by S.1237, expected to pass the Senate, or as I call it, "The Reverse Federalization Act of 2013".
The disanfranchised long abused underpaid guest workers of Saipan are now CWs (which is a CNMI only temporary no travel status), and according to The US State Department 2013 report says the CNMI is a “destination and transit location for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking”.
A lot has changed in the CNMI since the Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay days, the population has followed the economy down after the demise of the garment industry, and Kilili Sablan is the thrice Delegate to the US House of Representatives that introduced HR 2200 bill to the house as the sister legislation to S.1237, or Omnibus Territorial Act of 2013.
Business leaders, including the Saipan Chamber of Commerce along with notorious impeached Governor Ben Fitial hiding in the Philippines to avoid prosecution and his appointed Lt. now Governor Eloy Inos, here have heralded this legislation as necessary.
Specifically the bill:
1. Delays increases to the abysmal CNMI minimum wage
2. Extends the status quo of workers by extending the transition period another 5 years past 2014 allowing for unlimited extensions
3. Allow non US visa holding “investors” to operate indefinably in our Commonwealth, something the Consolidated Natural Resources Act prevented past 2014 with no extensions.
This bill was cut across party lines but since introduction by insular area Democrats and expected to pass the Senate, it apparently now has bipartisan support, and that is quite disturbing. Representative Donna Christensen (D-VI) was the original author of HR-3079, the bill to federalize the Commonwealth’s broken labor and immigration system, and is now a co-author of HR-2200.
Some theorize the big business community now funds politicians on both sides of the fence, and hired independent lobbyists to deceptively mask this legislation on the bottom of an Omnibus bill instead of disclosing it as a US immigration and border security issue and threat.