LIIDS, Transfer to Labor: The Department implemented Executive Order 2008-18 on November 1, 2008 and transferred the employees of the former LIIDS Section of the Immigration Division to the re-named LIDS (Labor Identification System) Section of the Department supervised by the Deputy Secretary.
Fitial, in an Oct. 17 executive order, transferred the CNMI's labor and immigration identification and documentation system from the Division of Immigration to the Labor Department. More commonly known as LIIDS section, the agency in charge of keeping track of guest workers in the CNMI will now be called the Employment Data Section.It is not "efficient administration" if those in running the system cannot disseminate required data. In fact, there appears to be less valuable data coming out of the system than before it was moved.
Under the governor's order, the EDS will also maintain the border management system for the Division of Immigration for as long as the CNMI government is in control of local immigration functions. The border management system is an automated program that generates a record of all entries to and exits from the Commonwealth.
The governor said the transfer is done in the interest of efficient administration. He noted that the Labor Department recently upgraded its automated processing system and completed its interactive website. The new system is tightly integrated with the data collection and processing currently done by LIIDS.
The article continued:
“This is just internal reorganization effort. The governor believes it is more appropriate to put Labor in charge of the database, given its duties and responsibilities with respect to the foreign workers,” said press secretary Charles P. Reyes Jr.Hmm. The governor made an executive order putting DOL, (the agency that has conspired with him on the anti-federalization lawsuit), in charge of the immigration tracking system. The order also renamed the system from the Labor and Immigration Identification System, LIIDS, to the Labor Identification System, LIDS. The executive order also states that the governor reserves the authority to "make personnel-related decisions." Does this means that he has control over the personnel who are in charge of the data for the purpose of manipulating or withholding information?
According to the executive order, all of LIIDS' equipment and data files will be transferred to the Employment Data Section. The supervisor of the LIIDS section will remain in charge of the new agency. All LIIDS personnel who can legally transfer to the Labor Department will also remain employed in their current positions.
The executive order also calls for the transfer of the LIIDS' budget allocation to the new section. However, it says the governor reserves the authority to make personnel-related decisions.
This is not the first executive order for LIDS, formerly called LIIDS. In August 2007 Governor Fitial made a previous executive order moving control of LIIDS from the Governor's Office to the Office of the Attorney General. The Saipan Tribune reported:
In his order, Fitial transferred LIIDS to the AGO's Division of Immigration for organizational purposes. But LIIDS will continue to provide resource data to the Department of Labor.
The governor also transferred all of this office's functions relating to certificates of identity or U.S. passports to the Immigration Division.
According to the governor, the change was necessary for efficient administration.
“The existence of a multitude of offices, agencies, and instrumentalities outside of the principal departments has resulted in duplication of functions, overlaps of responsibility, lack of coordination, and other forms of inefficient administration,” he said.
The Commonwealth's commitment and institutional ability to maintain an effective system of immigration control is evidenced by its implementation of a computerized arrival and departure tracking system. Financed by the federal government, the Border Management System has been fully operational since 2003, with the entry and departure of each traveler recorded. The Commonwealth also operates the Labor and Immigration Identification System, which records the immigration entry permits to the various classes of immigrants entering the CNMI. We are currently reevaluating these computerized systems to determine whether their components should be updated or replaced to reflect the advances in technology over the past decade. Even within their limitations, however, these systems give local immigration officials controls that their federal counterparts do not have.
Mark D. Zachares, secretary of the Department of Labor and Immigration, said the BMS is a final step of the immigration reforms implemented by the Tenorio administration.
The efforts are aimed at convincing the federal government that CNMI can handle its own labor and immigration laws as provided under the Covenant that established the islands as U.S. commonwealth.
"This system will be the envy in the Pacific... and around the world," the DOLI chief said during a demonstration of how the system works.
Accurate and faster.
...According to Mr. Zachares, the department will hook up with federal agencies, such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as well as Interpol to boost the ability of the CNMI to keep away undesirable aliens.Looks like the expensive system is worthless. Meant to track incoming and outgoing aliens, no one in the Fitial Administration seems to be capable of consistently reporting on the data. It is obvious to me, that they do not want to report.
Because it also records departures, he said aliens who are overstaying can be traced easily and their number can be established much more accurately.
"We will be able to use it as an effective law enforcement tool," the DOLI secretary added.
Funded through a $1.5 million grant from the Office of Insular Affairs, the computerized tracking system is a component of LIIDS which the CNMI government vouched in 1995 to improve handling of local immigration.
Some U.S. lawmakers and federal officials have cited the archaic system at the ports of entry here as reason to extend federal immigration laws to the islands.
In February 2008 Governor Fitial made two announcements. The first announcement was that he appointed his niece, Cinta Kaipat as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor. The second announcement was that the government had upgraded the LIIDs system. From the Saipan Tribune:
Labor director Barry Hirshbein and other Labor officials demonstrated to the media yesterday how they upgraded the Labor and Immigration Identification System with the new installation of a new computer system.LIDS, formerly LIIDS, was meant to be a state of the art tracking system and was funded by federal money for the Department of Interiors Insular Affairs Office. So what happened? Does it have the capability of tracking the aliens, categorizing them and providing valuable data? Data like the data needed by DHS and DOI to formulate a report that is by law due to Congress by 2010 with recommendations on the status of the foreign workers?
After the demonstration, Labor Secretary Gil M. San Nicolas, Hirshbein, Kaipat, and other Labor officials joined the governor in the news briefing.
Fitial said it took two years for his administration to clean up the mess left over from past administrations.
The governor said with the new computer system the LIIDS system has been upgraded for the first time since 2000.
“We have new equipment and new software. The system came online last week. We recognize the hard work put up in by Tom Torres (LIIDS computer specialist 3) to make this happen and the able assistance of Ron Smith (web master),” Fitial said.
The 2008 Annual Report contained this muddy statement:
The number of foreign national workers legally present: As of December 31, 2008, the Department had issued 22,917 permits during 2008 in the 706K (foreign worker) immigration category. (footnote 10) The Department counts only its administrative operations; it does not conduct any census of foreign workers
actually present in the Commonwealth. (footnote 11) The number of permits issued is greater than the number of workers present in the Commonwealth at any given point in a typical year because some permit actions are contract amendments or extensions and affect a single worker, some permit holders elect to leave the Commonwealth during the year for personal or employment reasons, some employers implement reductions in force and cancel their “issued” permits for some of their workers; some employers close their businesses entirely and their “issued” permits are cancelled by the Department; and other similar reasons.
Footnote 10: The Department’s published statistics show a total of 23,110 permits issued during 2008 in the 706K (private sector employment) and 706B (CNMI government employment) categories. During 2008, there were 193 permits issued in the 207B category. The remaining permits were in the 706K category.
Footnote 11: The taking of the census with respect to all categories of persons present in the Commonwealth, including foreign workers, is the responsibility of the U.S. Census Bureau.
§ 4970. Required reports.
(a) The Secretary shall prepare and submit to the Governor and the presiding officers of the Legislature the following written reports:
(1) Within one hundred twenty (120) days of the end of the government fiscal year, the Secretary shall prepare an annual report including data regarding the number of foreign national workers employed in the Commonwealth during the year, the citizenship of the workers, the job classifications filled by the workers; data regarding the number of citizens and permanent residents employed in the Commonwealth during the year, the job classifications filled by these employees; and other information as appropriate.
Thousands of foreign workers may be eligible for permanent residency under the CNMI immigration bill drafted by the federal government.The emphasis was added to show that the LIIDS Sytem worked just fine in 2007. The data was specific.
Data from the Labor and Immigration Identification System show that there are 7,944 guest workers who have been employed in the Commonwealth for five to nine consecutive years.
This figure was based on valid labor permits issued as of May 16, 2007, as well as labor applications pending review. The data did not include those who have worked in the CNMI for 10 years or more.
“That's a lot of workers,” press secretary Charles P. Reyes Jr. said of the figure. “Under the proposed federal law, they would be eligible for permanent residency, similar to the status enjoyed by people from the Federated States of Micronesia.”...
...According to LIIDS, there are 1,014 guest workers who have been on island for five years and 719 for six years. Nonresident workers who have stayed eight years total 4,871. Those who have had nine straight years of employment total 445.
Of the nearly 8,000 guest workers, 5,726 are from the Philippines. Some 1,266 are Chinese, 339 Thai, 150 Japanese, 146 Korean, 118 Bangladeshi, and 102 Nepalese. The 97 others are of different citizenships.
“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. The report shall include the number of aliens residing in the Commonwealth; a description of the legal status (under Federal law) of such aliens; in five year increments, the number of years each alien has been residing in the Commonwealth; the current and future requirements for the Commonwealth economy of an alien workforce; and 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.”LIDS, the federally funded CNMI tracking system, could provide much of the required information. The author of the mandated DOL 2008 Annual Report, whether Cinta Kaipat or Deanne Siemer, (the primary author of all of the DOL letters, reports, etc.) purposefully left out required data. By the purposefully withholding this data, DOL is in violation of CNMI law, PL 15-108, § 4970.