By: Rose Cuison Villazor, University of California at Davis School of Law
This essay explores an underexamined yet compelling immigration issue: whether Congress should confer to long-term guest workers in the Common-wealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) a path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship. The issue has led to contentious debates between groups arguing for a fair and equitable result for the guest workers and groups advocating for the indigenous peoples of the CNMI who fear loss of political power. Contend-ing that both arguments raise important anti-subordination claims, this essay argues that resolution of the issue requires a close examination of the historical, cultural and economic factors that led to this issue. Ultimately, this essay argues that Congress should provide the guest workers with a path to become permanent members of the American polity. Yet, in doing so, Congress must be mindful of the political needs of the CNMI’s indigenous populations.
Cite as: Rose C. Villazor, Citizenship for the Guest Workers of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, 90 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 525 (2015).