Federalization News

September 27, 2009

Delay Very Unlikely
I have been informed that the regulations for the transitional guest worker program should be out this week. I will post them once they are released from the Department of Homeland Security.

I also heard that the DHS is on track and there will be no delay. The effective date of PL 110-229 will be November 28, 2009 or 61 days from today.

Saipan papers are covering the legislation introduced by Congressman Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan. The Marianas Variety reports that Congressman Sablan said this of his bill, H.R. 3647:
“I believe that it is necessary to have a number of options on the table,” said Sablan.
“A complete delay of U.S. Public Law 110-229 is certainly called for if the Department of Homeland Security is not adequately prepared to assume its responsibilities at the border Nov. 28.

“If the department is ready, however, or ready enough that it is not possible to win the argument for a complete delay, then we have to have some other alternative legislation that will allow the commonwealth economy to continue to benefit from Russian and Chinese tourists.

“And that’s what my bill, H.R. 3658, will do: keep Russians and Chinese coming to vacation here just as they have for years without any serious problem or security risk.

“I am open to compromise and negotiation on this issue; and I think my new bill will facilitate discussion.”

Last week, Sablan met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who told him DHS would be ready to take responsibility for the borders as scheduled.

She also told the congressman that she understood the economic importance of tourists from Russia and China.
The Saipan Tribune reported that Governor Fitial "welcomes any delay to federalization." His expensive federal lawsuit to block federalization is already evidence of that. The article also states that Secretary Napolitano "was happy to see the 46-page Protocol." That document was said to be penned primarily by the governor's volunteer, Deanne Siemer and his "special attorney", Howard Willens. You can download it here.

Governor Fitial reported that Secretary Napolitano

Sablan Bill Addresses Status
H.R. 3658, a bill that Congressman Sablan introduced Friday, September 25, 2009 "To make technical corrections to subtitle A of Title VII of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, and for other purposes" calls for revision regarding status of some of the categories of nonresidents in the CNMI.

The bill calls for:
  • Registration of aliens in the CNMI to begin no later than November 28, 2009 with the initial registration to be completed by February 1, 2010;
  • Adjustment of status for CNMI permanent residents;
  • Special nonimmigrant visa for parents of U.S. citizen children that grants status in the CNMI (only) until November 28, 2014 at which time the child, regardless of age, could petition for the parents regardless of the age of the child.
  • Family-based immigration fee reduced for CNMI residents
I am not sure why the bill would require CNMI permanent residents to "reside in the commonwealth" until November 14, 2008. Some of these people have been residing there for decades and still cannot freely leave or travel. Many of those who were given CNMI permanent resident status have already passed away. Why not just allow them U.S. status already?

The provision for the reduction in fees for CNMI residents is both welcome and essential since the minimum wage is so low and few could afford the fees to petition their relatives.

The bill also calls for the visa waiver program to be implemented 180 days after the "transition program effective date."

The bill falls short of requesting status for the long-term foreign contract workers who do not have U.S. citizen children. There are thousands of long-term foreign contract workers without U.S. citizen children who have lived and worked in the CNMI for decades while being separated from their families in their homelands. If they had been in the mainland as foreign workers for 5 or more years they would have been able to have applied for green cards already.

Perhaps the congressman thought that it would be too politically risky a move with election just a little more than a year away to request status for all long-term foreign workers. Still, the bill could be amended to include that significant group of nonresidents that was omitted and it certainly is a start in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

"There are thousands of long-term foreign contract workers without U.S. citizen children who have lived and worked in the CNMI for decades while being separated from their families in their homelands."

These were their choices Wendy, nobody forced them to leave to go abroad. This is not a snarty remark it is the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. Long term contract workers do not have automatic rights to green cards just because they've lived in the CNMI for so long. Nobody ever promised them anything. The PI needs to clean up it's deplorable conditions for it's own people and create jobs for them. It is not the responsibility of the United States.

Wendy said...

The word is "snarky", but I know what you mean.

No, they do not have a "right" to a green card, but they do have the right to fight for status and I have the right to join them and help them and push for status. It is true that no one promised them anything; however, most people understand the humanitarian reasons why these people who dedicated years of their lives to building the economy and bettering the CNMI should be given decent status. The CNMI requires a stable workforce and these skilled and loyal workers could be given permanent status to serve that purpose.

This is not about the Philippines. Every time that you comment on my site, you bring up the Philippines. The foreign contract workers are from numerous Asian countries, not just the Philippines.

I do not stand alone. There are legislators and officials in the CNMI and in Washington, many CNMI residents and U.S. citizens in the mainland who also would like to see the long-term foreign contract workers be given permanent U.S. status.

Anonymous said...

There are many millions of Americans in the Mainland that need better status also. I am not trying to be snarky. As I stated before we will find out how much money is being spent on Guest workers in the CNMI by us Federal Taxpayers. Once those numbers are out we will post them on our blog and let the American People know just how our Government is spending to better the lives of non US Citizens. No snarky remarks intended.

Anonymous said...

That "snarky" guy is irritable. Is there a law that prosecute racial snarl and ethnic issues? Wendy may trace his/her identity by submitting it to authority.... guest workers are tax payer too!

the teacher said...

If a contract guest worker is drawing US aid, does that make them ineligible for green card application? I mean foreign nationals receiving food stamps or foreign students receiving free meals at US federally funded schools would not be eligible as I understand the application...but please correct me as I could be mistaken. The application has income protections to insure America is not increasing the number of public aid recipients, so it stands to reason, that anyone receiving aid, could not qualify under any scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Foreign contract workers cannot collect US aid. Their US citizen children can. Maybe those foreigners pay tuition?

the teacher said...

Yes, I understand US citizen children are eligible for WIC and other programs, but what I don't know is whether or not those individuals receiving aid will effect or hamper their parents potential application for an improved immigration status.

captain said...

This bill opf Killili and his reasons are conflicking with his pst and present statements.
I do not understand why he and others are trying to outgeuss the Fed and their preparedness and funds. because nothing is out in the open for view yet.
If this bill was meant to help out in the takeover situation it would not have put a specific time line on the delay.
To me, it should have said, "until the Feds have everything set in place and are ready to implement the phased in takeover"
Even this bill does not seem to have any logical way of passing, and Killili delayed writing this bill by about two weeks from the time he announced he would do it, it is still confusing as too what his real agenda is.
It would seem that he among all the players involved with this delaying the Feds should understand the impact of a delay on business and labor and investment etc.

Anonymous said...

This bill is pure politics so Kilili can say next Nov., "I supported federalization" if it transitions smooth and say "I submitted legislation to delay it".

He can then garner votes from this clan and that clan, the liberals and the status quo followers.

Pure politics.

Anonymous said...

From the CNMI Protocol for Implementation of Pub. L. 110-229, at 43 (Sep. 21, 2009):

“The report of the Secretary of the Interior due in May 2010 is widely thought by foreign workers to be the key to any improved status such as green cards permitting their entry into mainland U.S. However, the status topic is optional, and the Secretary is not required to address it. Importantly, this report requires data that the Census Bureau does not yet have. Although the Census Bureau uses samples and surveys to provide data as specified in PL 110-229 to all states and many cities, it does not provide that data to the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth itself has no statistically reliable population data and no financial resources for collecting such data. For that reason, if the Census Bureau does not provide estimates based on its well-established sampling techniques, funding will have to be found to support the generation of these data.”

Wendy said...

The report does not say that any data must be from the census bureau. The local government could provide statistics or conduct a registration. Read this post and this post.

Anonymous said...

It is DHS who would under the federalization law must do the registration, after November 28, 2009.

Anonymous said...

If they choose to do so at all.