The strangulation of Saipan


“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”
—C.S. Lewis

Editor’s Note: The following is being published in two parts due to its length.

Having observed and mulled the convoluted and politically driven mixed marriage between the mighty United States and the small and evolving Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, I think back to 1978 when I escaped to Saipan from the growing federal grasp upon my home state of California.

In the CNMI’s own battle with the U.S. over the CW issue, you would think the federal government would back off since the feds already has too many politically charged problems in the U.S. mainland: rebellious anti-Trump states, out-of-control crime in major cities, crazed zealots on both sides of the political fence (Black Lives Matter versus White Lives Maybe Matter), possible nuclear conflagration with a pudgy midget with a goofy haircut, the stupefying Kardashian “Kult” effect, and the seemingly endless line of illegal aliens who scamper across the U.S. border.

But no, the U.S. federal government, which, among other things, seems to possess a huge blind eye toward the massive illegal population in the U.S. mainland, has to travel all the way to Saipan on taxpayers’ money and exert the wrath of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its seemingly inept U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, which can’t even control its own U.S. backyard borders and the numerous illegal citizenship problems. Instead, they seem hell-bent in strangulating a small and much different island socio-economic culture with its federal heavy-handedness and a fetish for self-aggrandizing political power trips.

The CNMI Department of Labor recently released troubling news that 10 more Saipan companies were moronically denied their CW employee renewals by USCIS. Unbeknownst to certain USCIS feeble-minded uncivil servants, these CW denials cause adverse effects on the CNMI: major payroll reductions and less employee spending and tax and revenue losses; debilitating impairments to business operations; and possible company closures that ironically cause job terminations of U.S. citizens. Granted, the feds have done a decent job assisting our Commonwealth Health Center, Public School System, Northern Marianas College, etc., with federal grants and advisory support. But the feds mostly stay out of the way of these CNMI agencies that do a reasonable job spending the federal bucks. The U.S. government just requires follow-up reports justifying the spending of the federal money and everybody seems happy.

On the other hand, to give an example of the dubious DHS in action, I recently watched on the internet a TV story about the new border wall that is being built between Mexico and the adjacent U.S southern states. While the TV reporter was interviewing the government and/or private sector representative who was bragging about the ongoing construction of the new wall prototypes and its barrier capabilities, the cameraman began filming several “illegals/tourists” climbing over the walls in the background and casually strolling into the U.S. The TV reporter was stunned and asked the wall representative what was going on. The wall guy seemed oblivious and acted like this was an everyday activity. So why can’t the DHS/USCIS out here on our islands just relax on the beach with their taxpayers’ drink in hand, and let the CNMI evolve and prosper island-style.

I understand the argument that CNMI/U.S. residents must be given priority for CNMI jobs, but let’s get real. After many years of managing several CNMI companies, and being a PSS high school principal and a NMC director of vocational training for several years, I have learned some firsthand experience about the intricate labor situations here in the CNMI.

First, I don’t believe in the denigrating knock on local people that they are lazy and don’t show up to work on a regular basis. If given the proper training and self-confidence, I found anyone can hold a job and be successful. The problem is that most locals I trained, and the many others who took advantage of the CNMI’s limited training opportunities, eventually felt confident enough to head to where their lives had more opportunities and where the really good-paying jobs are located—in the U.S. mainland. A good percentage of the small amount of remaining locals do work at island businesses, and others have government jobs and, unfortunately, the CNMI has a certain group of infamous locals who think that making a living is robbing tourists and shoplifting at the “I Love Saipan” store and living at home.

With these considerations in mind, the CNMI has had periodic labor shortages of skilled workers ever since I’ve been here, and our struggling CW labor program is presently very important to the CNMI’s rebounding tourism and other related industries, including gaming and island services.

But back to those feisty USCIS guys and their tyrannical policies being enforced on the CNMI community in the name of misguided “good” that is being ominously directed toward: 1) our oppressed Saipan businesses; 2) our beleaguered and needed CW workers, 3) our local government that loses significant amounts of taxes and revenues; and 4) our community victims who are affected by the lack of business services and tax-related government services.

It is pretty obvious that this oppression is caused by some clueless and ambivalent feds, thinking that CNMI officials and island business people are totally incapable of providing jobs and security for their own residents. Sure, CNMI officials aren’t the greatest community providers in the universe, but there are available jobs for interested local residents with entry-level skills.

However, the tremendous need for many more skilled CW workers (including construction workers!) behooves our local officials to show some island intestinal fortitude against the shortsighted and obstructionist USCIS. What could be the real reason for this federal fiasco? Is it the typical tyrannical example of big brainless government with its small-minded management style? Is it federal retaliation for not getting their way on Tinian concerning the military issue? Who fricking knows in today’s world of fake news and rumor mongering?

For the sake of our small islands’ evolving survival and for the humane treatment of our hard-working CWs, why doesn’t the CNMI establish its own number of allowable CWs who are needed in the CNMI? To this end the CNMI should create its own “sanctuary islands” for our law-abiding CWs and for the betterment of all our island residents—young and old.

In related news, the mainland feds are amazingly allowing sanctuary cities and even the sanctuary state of California to create their own system of who can stay and who can’t.

To be continued.

Dr. Jack Angello
via email

U.S. resident (until the feds read this and maybe deport me, too)

Contributing Author

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