Federalization News

August 27, 2009

No Delay Expected
Allen Stayman, senior staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources said that a delay of federalization is "very unlikely" with just a three month window to pass legislation calling for an extension. He also reiterated that as stated in the CNRA the Department of Interior has until June 2010 to make recommendations to the U.S. Congress on status of the foreign contract workers.

Within the CNRA is a provision stating, “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.”

The Saipan Tribune reported:
“This is going to be a difficult transition and it may be that the best thing you do is to just get on with it. The further delay is not going to reduce the uncertainty that we're currently facing. What's going to resolve the uncertainty and the questions is to get on with the process,” Stayman told reporters after emerging from a meeting of the CNMI Energy Steering Committee at the Saipan Grand Hotel in Susupe yesterday afternoon.
Isaac Edwards also a senior staff member of the Senate committee commented on the federalization process:
Edwards, who was visiting Saipan for the first time, also shared the concerns of many in the CNMI-that there's a lack of communication from DHS about when the federalization regulations will come out and how they will be implemented.

Stayman said the CNMI does not have a U.S. citizen population that can meet its labor requirements, but there are two options to address this matter.

One is for the federal government to take over the guest worker program wherein their paperwork would shift from CNMI to federal, and second-which he said is a “more permanent solution”-would be to provide status under U.S. immigration law.

CNMI employers, he said, also have to consider giving two-year contracts to their employees to allow them maximum time while DHS puts forth the regulations and procedures. DHS is expected to release the regulations soon.
The Marianas Variety reported:
Once the federalization law is implemented, all guest workers in the CNMI will be considered as transitional workers.

Their existing contracts with CNMI employers issued by the Department of Labor will be honored until their expiration date.

“This is going to be a difficult transition. It may be that the best thing to do is just get on with it. The further delay is not going to reduce the uncertainty that we’re currently facing. Let’s get on with the process,” said Stayman.

“The [Department of Homeland Security] has a lot of flexibility to deal with things as they come up and I think that’s the best way to end the uncertainty — and end this transition. Let’s get this started,” he added.
Rep. Torres wants to review commonwealth status
Rep. Stanley Torres is calling for a review of US-CNMI relations according to the Saipan Tribune. He pre-filed H.B. 16-271 which would create the Second Marianas Political Status Commission to determine "whether the continuation of a commonwealth status is in the people's best interest, or whether some other political status would better enable them to fulfill their aspirations of full and meaningful self-government."

I wish the article reported what his recommendations or vision for commonwealth status would be. What is the "other political status" that he mentioned? To become independent of the U.S.? The Tribune reported:
Yesterday, Torres told Saipan Tribune of the importance of giving the CNMI people a “chance to revisit a treaty made 34 years ago to see if it is working out as promised.”

“Periodic evaluation of any agreement is key to maximizing its effectiveness. In that vein, our Covenant with the U.S.A. is certainly worth taking the time and effort necessary to closely reexamine it,” Torres said.
This is not the first time Torres introduced such legislation. He introduced four similar bills in previous sessions from 1997. In January 2008 Rep. Torres participated in the anti-federalization motorcade organized by the Taotao Tano.


Anonymous said...

Yep. Wendy left out some very important parts of that news article. For example, deportation of all guest workers may or may not happen. They may get green cards, maybe not and the US Congress has not discussed this yet, contrary to what Wendy has said. November to June is a long time and many contracts will be up or expired. This includes current long time guest workers. Adios.

Wendy said...

I did not "leave out" anything relevant. There is no way that the US would deport all of the guest workers. I am sure that the remark was made to make the point that anything is possible and no one is a mind reader and can predict the exact outcome. Wasn't that remark made to show that there is uncertainty in this process? After all the CNMI successfully lobbied to remove the grandfathering provision from the original bill. That was clear. What is in this bill is the provision that I quoted that leaves the decision up to the U.S. Congress upon recommendation of the DOI.

Does the Congress have to wait for a recommendation from DOI to grant improved status? No. Any provision to grant status could be included in a comprehensive immigration reform bill or any other bill that could precede the recommendation of DOI.

Do you think that the US Congress would vote to deport every foreign worker which would result in destroying what is left of the CNMI's economy? Be serious. And yes, members of the U.S. Congress have discussed this with U.S. citizens (myself included), but not in the halls of Congress.

Anonymous said...

'Do you think that the US Congress would vote to deport every foreign worker which would result in destroying what is left of the CNMI's economy?'

No Visa waivers for high spending Russian and Chinese tourists? Sure they will. So members of Congress have discussed these issues with you personally? What makes you so special?

ginoong.pasawaY said...

the reality:
SOME guest workers have to go....then you ANON will say adios..
SOME will have to stay cause they are NEEDED...then you ANON have to deal with it...
SOME guest workers that have U.S.citizen kids that leave these islands however would come back for sure in U.S. soil not necessarily here....and you ANON would say-Welcome Back!
"antayin mo: ang pagbabalik ng agila"

Congress Watcher said...

It is not true that “the CNMI successfully lobbied to remove the grandfather provision.” On the contrary, it was removed at the last minute by Del. Madeleine Bordallo because of vocal concerns by constituents worried about competing with a flood of low-paid former guest workers from Saipan.

Simple as that. This concern still exists and has great relevance in any future Congressional Insular Affairs Subcommittee deliberations on status.

Tony Babauta isn't going to sell out the Chamorros on Guam, either.

Anonymous said...

It was joint effort between Guam as you have correctly pointed out and our local administration and the Chamber of Commerce and HANMI and other businesses in the CNMI. They all successfully lobbied to remove the grandfathering clause (a clause that would have made this transition process so much less uncertain).

Now it is so funny hearing them asking for a delay because of uncertainties. This is the same group (Fitial who is suing, Jim A who publicly stated at the Congressional Hearing in DC that he did not want workers to have improved status) that pushed to maintain the uncertainty by pulling the grandfathering clause out.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 3:01

This is not about being "special". In fact, it is not about me. Any citizen can visit, maintain a dialogue and communicate with the members of Congress who represent him or her or with others that serve on committees or will make decisions on legislation.

Anonymous said...

Allen P. Stayman, the former director of the U.S. Office of Insular Affairs, said there is no apparent support right now in the U.S. Congress to improve the status of long-term guest workers.

“There hasn’t been any discussion of that in the Congress other than to ask Interior to do a report with recommendations and options with regard to the future status of guest workers,” Stayman said.

He said the report is due to be submitted to the U.S. Congress in

June 2010.

Congress can then decide if it wants to look into the status of the guest workers.

“Certainly there are many options,” Stayman said. “Well, everything from the range of deporting everybody or giving everybody a green card or something in between."

Seems kinda straightforward. LOL

Anonymous said...

Yes , it said nothing we did not already know, duh.

Anonymous said...

The CNMI will be a better place to live when the remnants of the garment industry are gone.

Anonymous said...

There are no remnants of the garment industry left, except of course the thousand plus illegal Chinese still here. How do we get rid of them?

captain said...

As far as the Chinese go, it looks like they are culling themselves out by trying to kill each other.(Newpapers) At least at this rate about half will be off the streets in jail or deported. The rest will be handled by the Feds. There is no "H" Chinese workers allowed in the US, so with the exception of possibly a few that will have time left on their contract during the time of transition, just might be that these workers will not be allowed to be renewed under the "H" visa system.(except for legitimate business)

Guam did not solve anything by this "grandfathering" of the workers here. They still have to deal with about 25K workers being brought in for the military buildup. (unless there can be many brought in from the US Mainland and Hawaii.

captain said...

Should read "by the blocking of the grandfathering of the workers here"

Anonymous said...

Torres switches sides more frequently than Greg Cruz does. Both don't seem to be consistent on much of anything. Greg was against Federalization, now he has been for it. But one thing Greg has been against is Contract workers and still is against them, so I guess he has one thing he has not changed. It is whoever is writing Greg's letters is the way he swings. Stanley probably is whom ever he can get to agree with him at any of the bars is the way he will go. (piecing together what he can remember the next day

Anonymous said...

DHS will take over our borders in less than 90 days.

We know that DHS has no plans to register aliens despite that the data are needed to define the problems and the data are critical in developing plans and strategies on how to address the foreign workers situation in the CNMI. Without this information, DHS cannot determine how many foreign workers there are in the CNMI and how many to allow under the H visa scheme. We also know that Russia and China are presently not included in the visa waiver program.

What we do not know are 1) if aliens in transitional status who must temporarily depart the CNMI be allowed (or can) reenter the CNMI; 2) if DHS will have regulations for the CNMI transitional workers program or just manage the entire program by policies it implements “on the go and by the way”; 3) how DHS will address, or if our courts could address, pending immigration laws (if the US District Court will hear immigration cases, including the over 200 now before the Superior Courts) and if the US District Court have the resources to provide counsels to the indigent foreign workers; and, 4) if long-term staying foreign workers, including IRs and CNMI permanent residents, will have the prospect to improved status.

Anonymous said...

ponder this :

Mr. Local #1 and Businessman #1 DO NOT like a granting of improved status to all, BUT are willing to help their nonimmigrant friends/employees because they believe that their friends/employees deserve improved status.

Mr. Local #2 and Businessman #2 have their own set of chosen ones for improved status.

What they fail to realize is, that they are actually blocking each other’s wishes and intentions because of their selfishness. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I think the local gov't especially the current administration with the help from Madelaine the **tch should just work hard with the feds to deport all the contract workers in the CNMI.


Anonymous said...

I think the local gov't especially the current administration with the help from Madelaine the **tch should just work hard with the feds to deport all the contract workers in the CNMI.


Tom Cruz
15 yrs. contract worker in Saipan