"Overstayers" List Questioned

February 21, 2008

Attorney Robert Myers said that CNMI Department of Labor Volunteer Deanne Siemer should know that foreign workers who are part of the class action against DOL and the bonding companies should not have their names listed on the CNMI DOL-issued "Overstayers List."

The Saipan Tribune quoted the attorney who filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of 127 cheated foreign workers (emphasis added):
“Deanne Siemer, as special counsel for Labor, knows well enough that the case law, even the new Commonwealth Employment Act's rules and regulations, says that if you filed a complaint with the court, you are entitled to a stay from deportation,” he said.

The lawyer said he has been getting a lot of calls from worried class action clients after seeing their names on the overstayers list.

Myers encouraged those class members who are on the list to contact him so he could help prevent their being harassed or arrested for deportation.

The lawyer also encouraged other alien workers who are on that same list to contact him so they may learn more about their legal rights.

“They can call me at 234-3184 extension 104, or fax at 234-3077, or e-mail me at Lwyr4u@gmail.com, or visit my website at www.Lwyr4u.com,” Myers said.
The class action was filed in December 2008. The CNMI Department of Labor has issued administrative orders with monetary judgments and has refused to enforce the judgments, leaving the cheated workers to try to collect on their own through small claims court. Defendants in the class action include Labor Secretary Gil M. San Nicolas, Deputy Secretary Cinta Kaipat, and Director Barry Hirshbein. Additionally 20 bonding companies that are responsible for covering judgments if employers default are listed as defendants in the case. The Marianas Variety quoted Meyers:  saipan blog, guam, saipan, corruption saipan, 
According to Myers, Labor’s “refusal to enforce is in direct violation of the authority for the enforcement of the bond obligations that have been legislatively vested with [the Labor] director.”

The Legislature, he added, “did not intend for Labor to direct complainants to small claims court and abrogate the procedure regarding the issuance, content and enforcement of such bonds supplied under an extensive statutory and regulatory scheme.”

Myers said nonresident workers are entitled to have the reviewing court apply the one or more of the equitable remedies to prevent inequity, miscarriage of justice and egregious unjust enrichment.

Myers said the “unlawful scheme between Labor and sureties in the CNMI will result not in the delay of, but in the denial of justice.”

He added, “No one, except Labor and the sureties involved in the scheme to prevent collection and remittance of the proceeds of the labor bonds, benefits from such an unfair and prejudiced scheme.”
In December 2008 the CNMI claimed there were 624 foreign workers identified as "overstayers." In addition to those foreign workers who have pending legal cases, the list included one Filipino guest worker who had died earlier in the year. deanne siemer

In September 2008, the DOL announced that there were an estimated"950 alien workers unaccounted for." Many foreign workers who came to the CNMI before 2000 came as tourists and would be more difficult to track. From the Saipan Tribune:
Siemer said it is possible that there are more people out there who came into the Commonwealth during the 1980s or 1990s and never worked in 2000 and thereafter.

“If someone has been illegal for 10 years or more, it will take more time to find them,” she said.

Federal immigration authorities, Siemer said, will clearly have the funds that would enable them to go back to the 1980s and 1990s records and find these people.

“Anyone who has been illegal that long is very likely to be deported by the federal authorities as soon as they are found. The Commonwealth estimates that there are relatively few people in this class,” she said.
Wendy L. Doromal ©2009

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