S.2739 is in the news bigtime. Locally. I challenge you to find a story in the national media that mentions Saipan or the CNMI and the bill.
The U.S. economy is melting down, Iraq is a mess, and the presidential campaign is in full swings(sic).
OK sure, immigration is part of the national debate and a lot of businesses want a guest worker program. Some states don't want to wait, but we're not the poster child for how to do it.
Has a single Senator or Congressman spoken up opposing U.S. control of CNMI immigration ('federalization')? I don't think so, but correct me if I've missed one. That's understandable, we're the Typhoid Marianas because of Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, Mark Zachares, et al. The petri dish has been contaminated. I'll let you be the judge of whether the ten-year, er, delay was worth it, but who's going to stick their head up now?
I don't even think they're paying attention to our local media. A few congressional staffers, maybe. We hear from them occasionally, but it always sounds like they've been asked for comment. They defend what's already proposed.
So why all of these stories from local politicians, businesses and business organizations? Who are they trying to influence? Each other?
Oh, and contract workers? I've heard for more than twenty years that there might be a path to naturalization 'someday'. I always thought it was wishful thinking. I still do. It's not about the numbers, that's a drop in the bucket nationally. It's the precedent--which makes it a controversial provision that was dropped from the legislation. It's not about fairness either. Sorry. For most national politicians it's about politics.
Realistically, a retreat on the minimum wage law is much more likely. Again, I'm not talking about fairness, but politics. Republican administrations are always against minimum wages*. I'm amazed any one was surprised when OIA came out for a freeze.
Democrats hold the majority in both houses of Congress, of course, and they are the minimum wage party. Only, I still wonder about that six-month Oldaker Biden & Belair contract. They did some "minimum wage" work back in the Abramoff days, too.
*Case in point: Kansas Republicans blocked raising their state minimum above $2.65 per hour. Surprised? I was (Lawrence Journal World & News)
**I also wondered about David Cohen's resignation from the Office of Insular Affairs. The timing is awfully close. Pulas' line about not wanting the job because it's political gets a new twist. While I still think he was just trying to beat the rush of lame duck Bushketeers waddling to the unemployment line, it's at least a possibility.
Two immediate thoughts: 1) He might have disagreed but not wanted to be disagreeable or, 2) He might have agreed, but not wanted to spoil his image as the godfather of the poor and dispossessed. We'll probably never know unless somebody like TPM Muckrakers gets hold of some emails.