Delegate Sablan's Comments to Chamber

January 10, 2010

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce held its installation dinner last evening with Delegate Sablan as the keynote speaker.

Delegate Gregorio Sablan told the Chamber of Commerce that he is "pushing for an extension of the five-year transition period so that the CNMI can continue to have access to foreign workers beyond 2015 if needed, and wants the CNMI governor to be given the authority to certify the need for foreign labor, similar to what the Guam governor does", according to the Saipan Tribune. An extension even before the transition program is only months old? Huh?

From the article:
Sablan said these in his remarks as keynote speaker at the Saipan Chamber of Commerce's installation dinner for the 2010 board of directors at the Hyatt Regency Saipan poolside Saturday night.

Although U.S. immigration law applies to the CNMI beginning Nov. 28, the CNMI will undergo a transition period with temporary measures ending Dec. 31, 2014, to allow for an orderly transition and give individuals time to identify an appropriate visa classification under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In his prepared speech, Sablan said he has met with U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis a number of times and encouraged her to start sending her staff out to the CNMI, so they could talk with her about the situation in the CNMI particularly as it pertains to setting the prevailing wage.

The Chamber has long been asking the presence of U.S. Department of Labor representatives in the CNMI to be able to directly listen to concerns of employers and workers in the CNMI, and provide guidance on policies such as the prevailing wage.

“I have asked her [Solis] to start thinking of using her power to extend the five-year transition period beyond 2015, so we can continue to have sufficient workforce after that date-if needed,” Sablan told some 140 members and guests of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce.

Sablan, who will be among those attending today's inauguration of Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos, cited the federalization law's requirement to phase out foreign labor in the CNMI by 2015.

“I have also asked her to consider providing the Northern Mariana Islands the authority to certify the need for foreign labor, as the governor does in Guam,” he added.

Guam is unique among U.S. territories as its governor has been granted by the federal government “certifying authority for Temporary Labor Certifications issued in Guam,” according to the Guam Department of Labor.

The CNMI governor sued the U.S. government over federalization, and a federal judge's ruling prevented DHS from implementing its interim final rule on the CNMI transitional worker rule without giving ample time for public comment and consider these comments before coming up with the final rule. The comment period ended on Jan. 8.

Besides these “efforts at persuasion” directed to the U.S. Labor secretary, Sablan said he has also begun taking legislative action to smooth out the “rather poorly conceived federalization law.”

“I must also remind you that foreign labor cannot be the permanent basis for a sound economy. I challenge you all to hire more U.S. citizens in your businesses,” Sablan said.
The remarks seem fine-tuned to the audience that is anti-federalization and supports keeping workers indentured and disenfranchised.

Talk of an extension of the transitional worker program would be mute if the U.S. Congress grants status to the nonresidents. That act would ensure a skilled and available workforce of invested workers who are already community members.

The April 10, 2008 Senate report stated that one purpose of the legislation that became PL 110-229 is to meet the need for a consistent U.S. immigration policy: “Elements of the CNMI's immigration policy are also simply inconsistent with Federal policies. Among these is the Federal policy that persons admitted into the U.S. to fill permanent jobs do so as immigrants with the ability to become U.S. citizens and full participants in the political process.” To meet this purpose, there must be a direct pathway to citizenship for guest workers under the federal program.

The notion that the CNMI government or governor should have anything to do with a guest worker program is ill-conceived and also conflicts with the intent of PL 110-229.

Other U.S. officials are on-island for the inauguration. Ron Hodges welcomed them in a letter to the editor:
I would like to welcome visitors and U.S. government official to Saipan for Gov. Fitial's inauguration ceremony.

U.S. government employees should be aware that the $1,000 a plate black-tie dinner is funded by donations from the CNMI private sector, and a U.S. government employee should not accept such a gratuity. U.S. government employees should also be careful accepting free tours, or as I call them, the Jack Abramoff tour of Saipan, where ladies and scuba diving are optional.

Team Abramoff is quite effective in compromising the integrity of public officials with gifts, lavish dinners, tickets, and money, according to 18 or so felons giving testimony in the most shocking abuse of power scandal in U.S. history.

U.S. taxpayer's may prefer and expect you to investigate the accuracy of the administration's disingenuous testimony to DHS regarding regulations for guest workers. The governor's special legal counsel suggested ID cards for all aliens to be carried at all times.

The South African government instituted a similar policy about a century ago and burning his ID card was Gandhi's initial act of civil disobedience. Adolf Hitler later ordered a similar ID program be required for residents of Jewish ancestry; by wearing gold stars of David as armbands at all times.

Surely, America would never again allow the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to move in such a shameful direction.
Ron was referring to the DHS comment submitted by Howard Willens that called for the CNMI government to issue Identification cards to all foreigners. See this post.


Anonymous said...

once a politician, always a politician.

te teacher said...

The transition hasn't really started yet. If the CW program had begun, I would say that the transition program is under way.

The transition regulations for workers and investors are very good. When both are instituted the US will be able to identify guest workers and dscriminate from foreign investors and cheap business operators.

I would think most CGWs would prefer this because they will never have a ststus improvement until the US can seperate the groups.

Those working to stall federalization, fight against it, try to change the regulations before the have begun, are not all on the same team and do not have the same goals.

If business opertors are waiting or green cards, then they are dreaming. Persons with varied interests have slowed the success of workers.

Anonymous said...

i think an ideal or appropriate guest worker program befitting the CNMI would never be developed unless the three parties (i.e,the cnmi gov't, USCIS and the guest workers representatives) with vested interests on it will meet to discuss and present their views and framework for it and reach a consensus based on all things discussed or debated on.

red october said...

Soon there will be a gestapos to check your ID, especially if you look like CGW?

Anonymous said...

The NMI worker program is a farce, has always been a money making business with the interests of the government first, businesses second and OCWs not even a consideration. The department of slaver cares about dollars and control. If the politicians fought for status for the ocws they might have a chance to hang on to their positions down the road. Grateful OCW children would remember and vote for them. It will be interesting when the US citizen children of the maltreated workers come of age in just a few years and take revenge at the polling places. Then even more interesting when they petition their parents and those parents cast their ballots against the politicians who wanted to keep them indentured and fought giving them some kind of decent status. You can walk the fence only for a short while, then you fall off. Their day is coming.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Kilili supporting a delay of the start too?

Then there is this, "Besides these “efforts at persuasion” directed to the U.S. Labor secretary, Sablan said he has also begun taking legislative action to smooth out the “rather poorly conceived federalization law.”

What was poorly conceived about the law? What does he want changed? Anyone have any specifics?

The longer he is in office, the less respect I have for him.

Anonymous said...

Well, election is only months away now and Kilili is all too aware who is now the in the Administration-- not the rooster he supported. Shucks.

Supports an extension to keep contract workers disenfranchised? What happened to sitting with Tina at the Unity Rally? Why doesn't he introduce legislation to grant status to contract workers? Fear Taotao Tano Kilili?

He's gone Covenant on us workers. Next thing you know he'll be telling us we're all illegal anyway. My parents worked their butt off to build your house Kilili, while you live it up in D.C.

Anonymous said...

Kilili aligns himself with every group. Trouble is that now there are lines drawn and you can't be on both sides.

You think he actually gives a damn about your parents, noni 7:20? The wealthy and connected in the NMI are the slave masters of the earlier days. Let's not break the system that keeps the overpopulation of unemployed foreign labor so we can keep them working for cheaper wages and not have to hear them whining about their rights and benefits because they are too desperate trying to find food so they have no more time to fight. Great American values.

Anonymous said...

Kilili speaks out of both sides of his mouth. No one knows where he really stands on any issue. He has things so blurred who can see what he is really saying? If his speech as part of his election strategy, I'm not getting it.

Anonymous said...

Noni 3:15
Problem is the guest workers don't even know who their real representatives are. Some of the most outspoken ocws hold up people who are really working against them as their representatives. Then the majority runs from them. Good example is Woodruff attacking ombudsman's alien registration.

Anonymous said...

Noni 7.50
i see ur point. i was just thinking when i made that comment that maybe somebody out there with knowledge on guest worker programs and the federal laws would volunteer to assist us, the guest workers, to facilitate a meeting and help us process all the ideas and organize them into a finished concept or framework of what we think as an effective guest worker program that would have an important impact on us as well as the employers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
malou berueco said...

“Problem is the guest workers don't even know who their real representatives are. Some of the most outspoken ocws hold up people who are really working against them as their representatives. Then the majority runs from them. Good example is Woodruff attacking ombudsman's alien registration.”
Atty. Woodruff’s and others’ opinions & ideas maybe entirely different from us now, but through these differences that we learn, research & explore more, to find facts & answers by ourselves. It is through these differences that make life more exciting & issues worth discussing. I have learned a lot through Atty. Woodruff and his one opinion or idea that differs from mine cannot just erase the fact, that he was such a big part of guest workers’ plight.
We cannot force anybody to believe what we believe and vice versa. Some may have looking in different perspective. We have different needs that we have to satisfy. We have our own mind to decide. Cesar Chavez was absolutely correct when he said “our oppressors have something they do not own, our spirits and souls.” GWs should not always rely on others to push their agenda. They would never feel how we really feel, simply because they are not in our shoes, though we know who our real supporters are. It is from them we get additional strength and it is through them that our voice could be heard when sometimes we become voiceless. But OUR plight and struggle should be coming from our own united spirits and souls.

the teacher said...

Malou makes some exceptional points. Participants in many movements have different goals, agendas, and beliefs about how to get from A to Z. The plight of workers in every country is an example of that. Hopefully, we all want a better commonwealth and a clear conscience that our community did our best to aid the plight of and opportunities open for all residents.

Many citizens don't agree with my opinions that the US should offer improved immigration status with a path to US citizenship. Many foreign nationals that agree with that opinion don't agree that the US should identify our illegal business operators and close them all. My reasons are not proprietary, but are humanitarian on the first and economic reality on the second.

Filipinos for Fitial/Inos said...

In 20 years the Foreign National Workers and their children will remember who has consistently tried to build a viable economy (Covenant Party) and whose misguided Unity March and pro-unionizing activities resulted in the departure of so many of our kababayan -- the poorest of the poor.

St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

Do not succumb to the Da Vinci Hoax!

malou berueco said...

to filipinos for fitial/inos: shame on you, if you are really my kababayan. you are TOTALLY LOST. how many times bloggers here will tell you that it was not the unity march nor the federalization that resulted unemployment and consequently departure of many GWs? it is worldwide hello??? don't you read other pages of the newspapers, or you are just reading if your beloved fitial is on the story?
"lakas ng loob mung magsalita ng di tama, nagtatago ka naman sa ibang mukha!"

Anonymous said...

Filipinos for Fitial/Inos is actually an American attorney.

Anonymous said...

filipinos for fitial,

a viable economy is not built upon the backs of underpaid and unpaid foreign labor.

i pray for you, you misguided individual.

Anonymous said...

This guy is has got to be one of Fitials attorneys, probably one of his "volunteers".the person is so transparent, that if it wasn't for the (at times)vocabulary used, the statements may be from a high school student or uneducated gov worker..

Anonymous said...

You forget that it was the federalizers in Congress who refused to approve an amendment to Headnote 3(a) reducing the local content requirement to 30%, that would have saved the most efficient of our garment industry.

Anonymous said...


Had the CNMI been smart in the garment industry, they should have used stones from another hill to polish our own Gems.

red october said...

filipino for fitial,

I can see that you are a very funny guy,you tried many times and twisted that white is black and black is white,you are not my kabayan.But if you are a pinoy,then you are "MAKAPILI"shame on you.