S. 2739 Passes!

April 10, 2008


















CELEBRATE!


S. 2739 which contains, TITLE VII-NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS, passed the United States Senate today at 3:50PM EST! When signed into law by President Bush, S. 2739 will extend U.S. immigration laws to the CNMI, establish a federally administered guest worker program in the islands, and help to secure our borders. The vote was 91 yeas, 4 nays and 5 not voting. Nays: Coburn (R-OK), DeMint (R-SC), Inhofe (R-OK), Vitter (R-LA). Not Voting: Clinton (D-NY), Dole (R-NC), Gregg (R-NH), McCain (R-AZ), Obama (D-IL).

This is a significant victory for every advocate, every federal official, and every person who has fought to end labor and human rights abuses in the CNMI. It is a momentous victory for the guest workers in the CNMI. It is a personal victory for me, and for my family.

As an advocate who has worked on passing this legislation for almost 2 decades, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the U.S Congress, especially to the members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the House Committee on Natural Resources, and their dedicated staff members. They devoted hundreds of hours of hard work, untiring perseverance, and self-less determination to see this issue resolved.

Some members of Congress and staff members including Congressman George Miller (D-CA), Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Allen Stayman have pushed for effective reform for over a decade in a fight that has been difficult and fraught with obstacles. Some of the strongest proponents of this legislation have been personally vilified, attacked, libeled, and have even have lost jobs because of their conviction and determination to extend just and democratic laws to the CNMI. Yet, they stood their ground and continued the battle. The late Congresswoman Patsy Mink (D-HI) fought vehemently for immigration and labor reform in the CNMI. She is the one member of Congress who answered every e-mail, and replied to every letter that I sent to her with a handwritten personal note.

There are advocates and human rights organizations who helped to educate the public and officials on this issue, and who have worked to get this bill passed who should be thanked and applauded. Dennis Greenia, who some know as dengre from the Daily Kos, is a dear friend and fellow advocate. He never saw the faces of the guest workers, yet he educated thousands of Americans of their plight and disenfranchisement through his posts on the Daily Kos. He spent hundreds of hours working with me, communicating with members of Congress, and assisting the guest workers through his writing and efforts to get other human rights groups including Co-op America on board to assist.

Committed clergy and staff from The Sisters of the Good Shepherds, Guma Esperansa, and the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa have worked tirelessly to assist victims of human trafficking, have educated the public on the human trafficking problem in the CNMI, and have worked for solutions.

Since the 1990's others have worked to institute meaningful reform in the CNMI - Dr. Eddie del Rosario, David Cohen, Danny Aranza, Phil Kaplan, Jess Varela, Global Survival Network, Sweatshop Watch, Filipino Coalition for Solidarity, Aloha Medical Mission, Filipino Community of Guam, Federation of Asian People of Guam, and dozens of friends and employees from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Interior, and other federal agencies. Not to mention, the numerous CNMI workers' groups, attorneys, and residents who supported and fought for federalization. Most importantly, the guest workers, themselves who over the last couple year found their voices!

Our work is not done. We still need to address the issue of federal permanent status for the long-term guest workers. I will be carrying the petition from the guest workers to Washington, D.C. that requests green card status for the legal CNMI long-term guest workers.

It is time for the CNMI government to stop the fight and to start working in unity with the federal government to set the CNMI on a path towards prosperity; to work to unify all of the people who call the CNMI home.

Best wishes to all of the guest workers and their families on Saipan, Rota, and Tinian! I wish I was there with you today. Take time to celebrate this victory in unity!

9 comments:

Ron Hodges said...

Ring the bell in the old church steeple....to quote the Reverand "free at last, free at last"

Kudos to WENDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan said...

Congratulations Wendy!

Arnel said...

Many thanks to Ms. Wendy, now I can sleep easy.

You should be awarded "Person of The Year"

Saipan Writer said...

Cause for celebration, yes. But This is a very nice post, recognizing the many different people and organizations and community that worked toward a better CNMI.

You mention that the work is not finished-that we need permanent status for long-time workers in the CNMI. We also need to stay focused on the nitty gritty details of regulations that will implement the federalization.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for the President's signature on this bill/law. It's not done until it's done completely.

erickesther said...

yyyahhhhoooo!!!!! we're almost there! some more sweat and we will harvest the fruit. thank you very much for all those people who help with this bill. more power to all of you.....GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!

boy_tigas said...

THANK YOU MAM WENDY AND TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED THE BILL.WHAT IS OUR SECOND MOVE MAM WENDY?NOW THAT THE BILL IS ALREADY PASS.THANK YOU AND GODBLESS.

Anonymous said...

CNMI Resident Representative Pete A. Tenorio should be added to the list of people to thank. His thinking has evolved a lot over the years. He was one of the very few CNMI politicians who really stuck his neck out to oppose the Governor. The other, of course, is Tina Sablan. If Tenorio loses the election for delegate over this, it will be a little like Moses leading people to the Promised Land but never getting there himself.

Anonymous said...

Everyone concerned should all pray to thank God and the people who made the dream into reality and pray that we get the main goal which is the green card, in the very shortest time as possible. A lot of things and events can happen within two years. I pray that the last lap of this struggle will be much easier to finish.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE! ESPECIALLY TO MAAM WENDY DOROMAL AND HER SUPPORTERS.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
WE NEED TO FOCUS ON FEDERALIZATION NOT ON FITIALS LOBBYIST FOR CNMI RESIDENCY!
GOD BLESS US ALL!