Our Man in Saipan

Dick Armey thinks he's found a free-market paradise in the Marianas Islands, a U.S. territory where the workers never complain, the factories never quit, and wages are so low, even welfare mothers can hire a Filipino maid

Congressman Miller, who has introduced the administration's proposal on the Marianas in the House, traveled to the Marianas on the U.S. government tab just two weeks after DeLay.

At the conclusion of his five-day trip, he told island officials that their immigration laws are "being exploited by individuals seeking to make enormous financial gains at the expense of some of the most vulnerable and impoverished citizens in the world. This is unacceptable to me.

"The immigration system has mutated into a mechanism for luring and holding unsuspecting people--mostly very young women--in horrific situations that cannot be justified."

Peggy Japko, who until recently lived in Armey's district, says she tried telling the same thing to her congressman via e-mail upon her return to the States last year. "I never got a response," she says. "Before DeLay and Armey's staff people went over there this last time, I tried telling them they have to look deeper into this."

She says she resents DeLay for characterizing opponents as "radicals."
"Armey and Delay seem to have their minds made up about what a wonderful little economy they have over there," says Japko. "They're the ones being extreme on this.

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