Hope is Never False

March 11, 2009

A letter to the editor: To Congressman Nick Rahall published today in the Marianas Variety begs to be corrected. The author claims, "worker groups and Mrs. Wendy Doromal misled guest workers in our homeland giving them false hopes of gaining improved immigration status."

President Barrack Obama spoke of hope. He said, "In the United States of America, there has never been anything false about hope...In America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it. Because hope is not blind optimism."

His words are true. There is nothing false about hope. Cruz would like those people who are reaching for it, fighting for it, working for it to stop. He would like the guest workers to believe they have no hope for status because his personal hope is that they will never achieve permanent status.

There is nothing "appalling and confusing" about requesting status or a path to citizenship. Status is a valid and reasonable request. A path to citizenship for hardworking guest workers is a goal of credible human rights and immigrant groups in the U.S. mainland, not just in the CNMI. It is promoted because it is an absolutely essential element of any moral, just and democratic guest worker program.

We all know that the Consolidated Natural Resources Act does not provide for status. The grandfathering provision of the law was taken out due to successful lobbying effort of the Fitial Administration, nativist groups, and Guam legislators (Resolution 80).  

However, within the Act is a provision that the issue of status will be decided within two years of the enactment of Public Law 110-229 (48 U.S.C. § 1806(h), 122 Stat. 860).(h) "The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, shall report to the Congress not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Immigration, Security, and Labor Act. Among the recommendations required to be included in the report is "
recommendations to the Congress related to granting alien workers lawfully present in the Commonwealth on the date of the enactment of such Act United States citizenship or some other permanent legal status.  

This means the issue should be back before Congress no later than May 8, 2010. It could be earlier, which is one reason why the letter campaign was initiated at this time. This is not false hope because hope is not blind optimism.  

Those who oppose status for workers want them to remain voiceless. They want their pens to run dry. They want them to stay unheard as they passively hope for the best keeping their wishes and dreams locked in their minds and hearts. They want them to remain a disenfranchised underclass. They tell them they possess false hope.

Those who support a just and democratic guest worker program in the CNMI and in the mainland support opportunities where foreign workers and immigrants can take control over their destiny and the destiny of their families. They know that "in America, no dream is beyond their grasp if they reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it." 

The letter writing campaign speaks to turning hope and dreams into reality by reaching for status, fighting for status and working for it. Let there be thousands of letters that tell the stories of the foreign workers and their families.

You can join the campaign and make your voices heard! Social justice and true reform cannot be achieved merely through legislation. It will be achieved through changing people’s hearts, through speaking out, and through education.

Letters are being solicited from all categories of people who will be affected by the implementation of PL 110-229, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act (CNRA). These include guest workers, U.S. citizen children of foreign contract workers, spouses and children of citizens from the Freely Associated States, alien spouses and children of U.S. citizens, CNMI permanent residents, widow and widowers of U.S. citizen spouses, and alien spouses divorced from their U.S. citizen spouses.

Letters from supportive resident relatives, friends, and employers of foreign contract workers and others among the various non-resident categories are also encouraged and welcomed.

The goal of the letter writing campaign is to put a face on the foreign contract workers and other non-residents who call the CNMI their home. The officials who are drafting regulations and the members of Congress who will decide on status are thousands of miles from the CNMI. They have not met or spoken to the people who will be impacted by these policies and laws. The letters will give these officials an opportunity to get a clearer picture of who the nonresidents are, the contributions that they make to the community, and why they call the Commonwealth home.

The letters will give a voice to the huge population of CNMI non-residents who are not represented, and have no vote in matters that impact their lives and the lives of their children and families. U.S. citizen children and alien children of foreign contract workers and others are encouraged to submit hand-written letters. The letter writers will have an opportunity to express concerns and to ask the federal officials to consider permanent status, including green card status and a pathway to U.S. citizenship for the above mentioned categories of people.

The letters will be hand-delivered to various U.S. Departments and Congressional Committees that are directly involved in drafting policy and regulation for the CNRA. These include the Secretaries and key officials of the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Labor, Justice and Interior, and the House and Senate Resources Committees. The letters will be presented with a cover letter directly to federal officials. Letters will not be submitted to any government agency, or media outlet for publication. However, you may request to have your letter published on this site, and it will be posted.

Some suggestions on what you could include in your letters are here.  Letters will be accepted until the end of March 2009.  

For more information please contact Wendy Doromal at doromal@earthlink.net. You can send your letters through email directly to doromal@earthlink.net or you may mail your letter to:

Wendy Doromal
2914 Golden View Lane
Orlando, FL 32812


the teacher said...

Wendy - Yhis is all true and nothing new. Many were in tears here yesterday after reading the Q & A with Homeland Security, but it including nothing new and they didn't even ask the important question about the undetermined issue of status.

wendy said...

Some do not understand that it is only Congress who can decide on status. They assume everything will be set when the law is implemented on whatever date is selected (June 1 up to November 2009)

Melberlin said...

Today's newspaper letter author forgot that his US citizenship was only granted to him when? just about 20 years ago? by the US because they chose to join the United States in act of self-determination; not by his blood-line. And now he is greedy out of it. Pity....

Anonymous said...

I'd been saying the same thing over and over and over again. Why are these Chamorros so selfish in giving us aliens a status, where in fact they were not US Citizen too before. They were just lucky to receive such citizenship from Uncle Sam. Yes, they became US Citizen not because of blood, just because of luck. These ignorant locals keep on hating Uncle Sam at the same time, please strip of and denounce your US Citizenship and give it to those who like it. Damn!