Federal Government Should Extend All Rights, Privileges To Guam


HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 3, 2017) – Today, Guam is the first to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, which is ironic because so many of the rights, freedoms and privileges that come with being an American don’t apply to us or the other U.S. territories.

The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and they have “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It also states “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

But rights guaranteed to other Americans don’t always apply to Guam residents, and we have no real say in the federal government.

We aren’t allowed to vote for president.

We have no true voice, no vote, in the House of Representatives or the Senate.

The U.S. Constitution applies to us only in part, and Congress has the power to revoke current protections at any time.

The federal government has the right to make administrative decisions affecting our well-being, and we have no voice in those decisions or in selecting the administrators who make those decisions. The reimbursement rate for Medicaid on Guam is a fraction of what states receive, which hampers the ability of our public hospital to deliver adequate care to the island.

The compact-impact reimbursement rate is a fraction of what it costs the government and island to host regional migrants. This has a significant impact on public safety, health and education agencies to deliver basic services.

We need foreign workers for our construction industry, yet the federal government continues to reject almost 100 percent of all H-2B applications.

Some of these problems can be changed with simple administrative fixes. Others are more complex. But they all stem from the refusal of the United States to extend full freedoms and rights to Guam. It’s long past time that wrong was righted.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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