S. 2739 Off for President's Signature!

April 29, 2008

"There's no turning back...We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart..." Cesar Chavez

S. 2739 advanced to the final step in becoming law today! At 7:17 PM EST, the US House of Representatives passed the legislation by a voice vote (Yeas - 291, Nays -117, not voting -25). Although the bill passed the Senate on April 10, 2008 by a wide margin, the bill required the concurrence of the House because it was renumbered. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Bush within weeks.

The legislation will apply federal immigration law to the CNMI, will create a federal guest worker program, and will establish a nonvoting CNMI delegate seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to a Congressional staff member, "Protection from guest worker removal is built into the legislation. Upon enactment (president's signature) the CNMI is prohibited from removing or deporting guest workers."

Congressman George Miller was quoted in the Marianas Variety today:

“We sought these changes so that we could put a stop to the abuse of workers in the garment and tourism industry in the CNMI and to better secure America’s borders,” Miller said.

“The new immigration policy will help protect workers, and I hope it will help the CNMI open a new chapter of economic prosperity in compliance with American law,” he added."

Congratulations to everyone who has supported this legislation to promote social and political justice, human rights, and economic prosperity for all of the people who live and work in the CNMI!


contract worker said...

Thanks Wendy for being the voice of the voiceless and for carrying on a good fight.

Saipan Writer said...

I've been trying for the past hour or so to find out how they voted. Glad you've got the word. Any confirming link?

Armchair Lawyer said...

“According to a Congressional staff member, "Protection from guest worker removal is built into the legislation. Upon enactment (president's signature) the CNMI is prohibited from removing or deporting guest workers."”

This isn't in any provision of the bill I read. It would be nice if true, but we don't want to spread misinformation.

Anonymous said...

Many Many thanks to all who helped to pass thebill.

Wendy said...

armchair lawyer - you can call the House Resources Committee and verify. This is not a misrepresentation. I wouldn't put this out if it wasn't conveyed first hand!

Wendy said...

Hello Saipan Writer - No confirming links that I can find yet, but there is the press release from the committee!

...just got lost and lucky.... said...

Foreign workers who are legally present in the CNMI under CNMI immigration laws on the transition period’s effective date are temporarily protected from removal; they may not be immediately removed from the country for violating the INA on the basis of being present without having been admitted to the United States. A foreign worker lawfully present under previous CNMI immigration laws but who does not obtain U.S. immigration status becomes subject to removal 2 years after the effective date of the transition program or when the CNMI-issued permit expires, whichever is earlier.

Is this what you were pertaining to Wendy?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! To all who have helped us in our struggle for justice!
Congratulations to Maam Wendy Doromal for your devotion and commitment for social justice and human rights!
Godbless to everyone!

Armchair Lawyer said...

Until the “Transition Program” becomes effective some time between June 1, 2008 and November 28, 2008 (depending on whether the feds need more time to draft regulations), the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, at Subsection 702(i), imposes only a two-fold responsibility of the CNMI government: (1) not to increase the number of Foreign National Workers in the CNMI, and (2) to continue to implement its Refugee/ Torture Protection program.

It is persons subject to the latter whom the Congressional staffer must have had in mind, not every guest worker whose employer goes out of business due to the minimum wage increase.

Here is the relevant law:

(i) REQUIRED ACTIONS PRIOR TO TRANSITION PROGRAM EFFECTIVE DATE.—During the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on the transition program effective date described in section 6 of Public Law 94–241 (as added by subsection (a)), the Government of the Commonwealth shall—

(1) not permit an increase in the total number of alien workers who are present in the Commonwealth as of the date of enactment of this Act; and

(2) administer its nonrefoulement protection program—

(A) according to the terms and procedures set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement entered into between the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, executed on September 12, 2003 (which terms and procedures, including but not limited to funding by the Secretary of the Interior and performance by the Secretary of Homeland Security of the duties of ‘‘Protection Consultant’’ to the Commonwealth, shall have effect on and after the date of enactment of this Act), as well as CNMI Public Law 13–61 and the Immigration Regulations Establishing a Procedural Mechanism for Persons Requesting Protection from Refoulement; and

(B) so as not to remove or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any alien whom the Protection Consultant has determined to be eligible for protection from persecution or torture.

Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, S. 2739, tit. VII, subtit. A, § 702(i)(1) & (2) (as passed by House, Apr. 29, 2008).