140
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES             H.C.R. NO.            
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                     HOUSE  CONCURRENT
                        RESOLUTION

  REQUESTING THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO
    SPEEDILY PASS S. 1052 RELATING TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE
    NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS.



 1        WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
 2   of the United States (CNMI), consisting of the islands of
 3   Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, continues to be a place of grievous
 4   abuses and violations of human rights against approximately
 5   25,000 overseas Filipino contract workers, such as domestic
 6   helpers, waitresses, farm laborers, construction workers,
 7   entertainers, and teachers; and
 8   
 9        WHEREAS, there are hundreds of documented cases of rape,
10   forced prostitution, kidnapping, torture, assault and battery,
11   and violations of labor rights committed by employers and local
12   government officials who are largely of Chamorro ethnic
13   extraction; and
14   
15        WHEREAS, these Filipino employees are often cheated of
16   their wages and their passports are sometimes held by employers
17   to force them to remain; and
18   
19        WHEREAS, approximately 20,000 or more Chinese workers
20   labor under similar conditions in sweat-shop garment factories;
21   and
22   
23        WHEREAS, these Chinese workers are deprived of fundamental
24   rights such as the right to join unions and churches, and to
25   marry; and
26   
27        WHEREAS, new cases of abuses continue to occur at alarming
28   rates; and
29   
30        WHEREAS, these injustices are inflicted by employers and
31   government officials, notably the police, under a corrupt
32   system in which close family or political ties exist between
33   employers and local authorities; and
34   

 
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 1        WHEREAS, the indigenous population of the CNMI numbers
 2   only approximately 18,000 individuals; and
 3   
 4        WHEREAS, the combined Filipino and Chinese population is
 5   over 45,000 or at least two and a half times greater than the
 6   population of eligible voters of the CNMI; and
 7   
 8        WHEREAS, these CNMI garment factories ship products to the
 9   United States duty and quota free, yet these products are
10   produced in violation of General Rule (3)(a)(IV) of the
11   Harmonized tariff schedule of the United States, under
12   condition rivaling those of the worst Asian sweat-shops; and
13   
14        WHEREAS, these imported garments offer substantial
15   competition to garments made by U.S. companies and workers
16   under applicable U.S. standards and labor laws; and
17   
18        WHEREAS, the local Office of the Attorney General is
19   generally unwilling to act to protect foreign workers or to
20   enforce labor laws, due to fears of employment repercussions
21   against the lawyers and in some cases to conflicts of interest;
22   and
23   
24        WHEREAS, federal authorities responding to complaints of
25   abuse by foreign workers have regularly encountered challenges
26   to their jurisdiction, hostility from tight-knit local
27   communities, and witnesses intimidated or otherwise induced not
28   to testify, prompting the authorities to compare their law
29   enforcement efforts in the CNMI to similar efforts in the old
30   deep South, and to comment that in the Northern Marianas the
31   "indigenous rights promoted by Washington have come to mean the
32   exploitations of Asians," and that "It's American policy gone
33   bad"; and
34   
35        WHEREAS, the CNMI has used its interim, temporary control
36   of its immigration law and wage law to develop an economy in
37   which over ninety per cent of its private sector workforce
38   consists of underpaid, ill-treated foreign workers; and
39   
40        WHEREAS, the CNMI has through its special immigration
41   laws, artificially deflated the price of labor in the private
42   sector, and made private sector employment undesirable to
43   indigenous workers; and

 
 
 
 
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 1   
 2        WHEREAS, the unemployment rate among indigenous workers is
 3   over three times higher than the mainland U.S. rate as a result
 4   of dependence on foreign laborers; and
 5   
 6        WHEREAS, the political and social conditions that have
 7   developed in the CNMI have come to resemble conditions in the
 8   Republic of South Africa prior to the end of apartheid,
 9   encouraging a racist psychology in the local indigenous
10   population; and
11   
12        WHEREAS, even as the U.S. Senate passed a bill, S. 1052,
13   to impose U.S. immigration law on the CNMI, the CNMI
14   Legislature introduced a bill to lift the often ignored self-
15   imposed "cap" on new foreign laborers, showing a total lack of
16   good faith and good intentions; now, therefore,
17   
18        BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the
19   Twentieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session
20   of 2000, the Senate concurring, that the Congress of the United
21   States is respectfully requested to speedily pass S. 1052 to
22   bring U.S. immigration law to what is, in fact, U.S. territory,
23   the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands of the United
24   States; and
25   
26        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
27   Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the
28   United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of
29   Representatives, and to the members of Hawaii's congressional
30   delegation.
31   
32 
33 
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35                         OFFERED BY:  ____________________________