Gathering With Parents of US Citizen Children

July 31, 2008

I met yesterday with some parents of US citizen children at Kilili Beach. Many of the parents who attended the meeting have children with disabilities and special needs. They are concerned that when their contracts are terminated, they will be repatriated to their homelands and their children will no longer have the therapies and treatments that they receive in the CNMI. Their concerns have been documented and brought to the attention of members of Congress and federal officials for over a year. The US government should not be supporting the exile of US citizen children.

When formulating policies and regulations, I hope federal officials will address the status of parents of all US citizen children. Families have expressed that their children would face serious hardships if they are sent home since for most Saipan is the only home they have ever known. Parents who would be jobless in their homelands would be unable to provide for their children's nutritional, health, and other basic needs. Chinese workers have expressed that there is a fine in China for having more than one child. This is a fine that most could not afford. Some of the US citizen children are now serving in the military, yet their parents have no status.

Parents of children with disabilities have formed a group to address their children's needs and to urge federal officials to consider upgrading their status.

Today on Rota one father at a gathering said, "Tell the US government that their children will be picking through garbage on Smoky Mountain if we are forced to leave." He has been working in the CNMI for 19 years and sold his land in the Philippines. He said that there are no job prospects in the Philippines and his family would have no where to live. The CNMI is is home.

Below some photos of the gathering at Kilili Beach: