- - Thursday, March 8, 2018


As each of our early territories sought to join the union and become states, America’s borders extended further and further west, Colorado, California, Hawaii.

America then added colonies to expand it’s empire, subjecting peoples in those lands to the same inequities our own colonial fathers had fought so hard to escape.

These colonies were always designed to be temporary in nature. And as stated by author Doug Mack, “Expansion was never simply about having more people in more places — it was about claiming areas of strategic utility. It was about enhancing our nation’s power in the world.” Nothing demonstrates this premise more than the Territory of Guam.

Three territories have yet to determine their status. U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Where U.S.V.I. and American Samoa tend to embrace the status quo, the Territory of Guam finds itself in a unique situation.

Guam shares a much closer relationship with America. Her peoples and land had been taken from the Spaniards 120 years ago by our Marines after being held as a Spanish colony for almost 350 years and then again in 1944 when our Marines halted an annihilation attempt by the Japanese who had occupied Guam and held and tortured our people as prisoners for almost 3 years.

The Territory of Guam is U.S. soil. We are U.S. citizens. English is our first language. We fly the U.S. flag, trade in U.S. dollars, have U.S. banks, courts, attorneys, justices, and are governed under U.S. laws. Over 13 percent of our population represent U.S. veterans (a higher rate than any state in the union). And over a third of our 210 sq. miles serves as some of the most important and strategic U.S. military and national security installations in the world.

Guam is not merely “Where America’s day begins,” Guam is where “America’s fortifications begin.” While being the only U.S. soil to be held by the enemy since 1812, Guam currently holds the distinction of being the major buffer between our homeland and a North Korean nuclear missile.

While most Americans and our lawmakers know very little about who we are, where we are, or how important Guam is to the balance of peace and power in the Western Pacific, the North Koreans know exactly how critical we are to America’s defense.

Over the last eight years, many missiles have been lobbed our way with little news coverage, if any. The prior administration’s benign neglect and complacency only allowed the threats against Guam and America to escalate.

You would think that our lawmakers would recognize that a healthy and prosperous Guam would ensure a safer homeland. Yet policies and procedures in place for generations and practices initially introduced by our own federal government in 1944 are now being rethought and redefined by the U.S. Immigration Services restricting our island’s ability to sustain our own people, threatening to destroy our culture, our economy and our way of life.

This phenomenon manifested itself quite dramatically a mere two years ago under the prior administration. Our requests for temporary skilled alien workers went from a 98 percent approval rating to 100 percent denial. Meanwhile, the Departments of Defense and State, continue to allow for the unrestricted flow of unskilled immigrants onto our island via compacts they enacted without Guam at the table.

President Trump’s promise to level the economic playing field for all Americans gave us hope. This hope was destroyed by the unwillingness of our current Immigration Service officials to recognize the exceptionally unfair and catastrophic position they blindly continue to support and defend.

Although a recent bill enables the Department of Defense to secure its needed work force on projects directly assigned to military build-up, anything outside the fence designed to build and support the economy and lives of our minority Americans has simply been erased from the equation. To the average bystander, this can seem a bit contrived and an attempt to manipulate and dominate a people to achieve certain ends.

Remember, we are not speaking of hundreds of thousands of workers. We are an island 6,000 miles from the mainland with a population of 160,000. We are seeking the aid of 1,000 — 2,000 skilled workers to assist with temporary construction projects to support our main industry of tourism, our specialized nursing needs and occasional infrastructure projects. This represents but a drop in the bucket when one looks at the big picture.

Yet, once again, we find ourselves between two warring factions. The North Koreans who have vowed to blow us off the face of the earth and our own federal government who seeks to put us out of business, making us totally dependent on their intermittent generosity.

Guamanians, like Californians, Floridians or Texans, are U.S. citizens, too. Yet we have no representation in the Senate and our sole congressional representative has no vote on the floor of Congress. For more than 100 years, we have been subjected to countless unfunded mandates and unfair trade practices imposed upon us by our own lawmakers and military. Both, who have sworn to protect all Americans yet know so little about us.

Promises to level the economic playing field for all Americans were made; those of us on Guam are still waiting.

Margaret Metcalfe is a Republican national committeewoman, Territory of Guam, U.S.A.

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