Status for Foreign Workers

January 12, 2010

As expected, Tony Babauta, the assistant secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs told reporters in the CNMI that he would meet the deadline of PL 110-229 in sending a report to the U.S. Congress concerning status of the foreign contract workers. He stated that he did not know what the recommendation will be.

From the Saipan Tribune:
Babauta also met with Federal Labor Ombudsman Pamela Brown, who was able to register at least 19,000 alien workers in what it described as an “accounting” process.
But Babauta didn't disclose the details of the meeting, saying only that they're “something internal right now.”

“It's part of gathering information for the report. Pam is an ombudsman but she works under my office. She's doing her job to make sure the deadline is going to be met,” said Babauta, who is in the CNMI this week also to attend Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos's inauguration.

The federalization law or the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 requires the Interior secretary, in consultation with the Homeland Security secretary and the governor of the CNMI, to recommend to the U.S. Congress, as the secretary deems appropriate, a permanent immigration status to guest workers legally residing in the CNMI, by May 10, 2010.

Fitial and Inos earlier said that, should Interior recommend “green cards” for alien workers, they won't oppose the decision.
Through the online petition posted on November 14th and through efforts of guest worker groups who have been circulating copies of the petition to gather written signatures, we now have over 5,000 petition signatures requesting permanent status for the nonresidents of the CNMI. The online petition has reached 2,346 signatures!

It's not to late to join the thousands of CNMI residents, nonresidents and their supporters in signing the petition to show support of permanent status for the Nonresidents of the CNMI.


the teacher said...

The trajectory and goals seem to have changed from contract guest workers earning improved status to ALL NON RESIDENTS. Allowing all foreign nationals to improve their status here would be a shame. The plight of abused workers is one issue, but to group THOUSANDS of foreign business operators here together will guarantee the CNMI worsens into a ghetto or barrio. The textile business that once supported them doesn’t exist here anymore. To claim, or think, that America owes aliens something for angling into Saipan through immigration fraud or tourist turned entrepreneur is outrageous, and I would never support that for many reasons. It would be a crime against locals, it would pay tribute to vile conduct, it would legitimize shady crooks operating here, it would guarantee labor abuses and nonpayment issues continue, and it would defeat a primary purpose of federalization. Foreign operators here have hurt the case for CGWs to have improved status and now CGWs, or at least some, are supporting efforts of all non-residents to get green cards…say it ain’t so.

Wendy said...

Why shouldn't legal business owners who provided their services to the people of the CNMI for decades be given status? I know many such loyal and honest people who run small legitimate businesses. They opened beauty salons, tailor shops, auto repair shops, air conditioning servicing shops and other businesses.
I have friends with legitimate businesses that they have run for decades! They are already invested community and vital members.

Anonymous said...

And why are we (CW) to suffer even more because of these crooks? CWs' plight affect our kids too who are US citizens. I think these crooks are only few in number, federal can

The Saipan Blogger said...

No one argues that there hasn't been immigration fraud on both sides. But won't it be likely that should a proposed improved status be granted that there will be conditions? I doubt there would be blanket green cards.

Filipinos for Fitial/Inos said...

You are right, Wendy, but you must know that there is a large cohort from the “politics of envy,” class struggle, and extreme labor union activism among those who have supported the Unity Marchers and the progressive agenda.

the teacher said...

Wendy - The US investor visa regulations have addressed the importance of having investors with resources, as the employee citizens at a livable wage. All of our current labor abuse or non-payment originates with small underfunded businesses, and none of them even paid a CNMI investor visa.

If the US gives green cards, or effectively gives US investor visas to quack businesses, then Paul Zak's opinion will come true. His remarks identified the number of additional people, persons with little or no money, that will enter the CNMI, and PSS and our medical services would be a nightmare. At no point, did I ever advocate for cheats that angled in here on tourist visas, brought relatives on tourist visas, and all reside in the commonwealth now expecting that the US owes them something. If our quack businesses are honored with status, we will have 50 cent corn vendors lining Beach Road.

To stand and support some of the unscrupulous foreigners operating here (that fought federalization by the way) includes advocating for our sleazy former recruiters and our despicable bonding operators...and I say adios.

That was never the plan for the future of the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

Any US citizen can move to the CNMI and open a "quack business" at any time. Wendy said "legitimate" businesses.

Anonymous said...

Yeah to 12:45, Look at Paul Zak etc.

the teacher said...

Above 12:45

Yes, any US citizen can open a pet rocks for sale business if they want, but foreign nationals may not. If aliens who entered here that could not enter Guam were all allowed to do business in America, thenthe US would be over run with quacks that would immediatly seek public aid to assist their quack business.

One must pay 500k for a US investor visa in a rural area like ours and I DO NOT THINK THE US WILL WATER DOWN THAT BUSINESS VISA TO SUPPORT QUACKS FROM THE CNMI.

The US must begin the CW program for workers and the transitional investor program as designed, to do other will destroy CNMI economics.

Anonymous said...

The teacher is right. Always listen to your teachers.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Under the CNMI system couldn't they come in as a tourist, create a business, and then hire themselves as contract workers?

Wendy said...


I do not support giving status to anyone who was or is an illegal recruiter, has an illegal businesses, does not meet the requirements to qualify for a business visa or is involved in any illegal activities. There are many legitimate business owners who have lived and worked in the CNMI for decades and have no status. It would be in their best interest and the interest of the CNMI to allow them a pathway to citizenship.

When I say nonresidents I mean the groups I have routinely listed in posts and reports: guest workers, CNMI permanent residents, aliens spouses and children, widows/widowers of US citizens spouses, FAS citizens in CNMI, spouses and children.

I think it is interesting that people think everyone who is a nonresident will qualify for some kind of improved status. I am not convinced that will be the case or even should be the case. Certainly anyone involved with illegal activities should not be given status.

I think the Saipan Blogger may be correct -business owners may also have CNMI-issued work permits and could also be classified as guest workers. Interesting thought.

Jack said...

Saipan Blogger is incorrect. In order to incorporate a business or get a business license, one must be a)US citizen b) IR c) Permanent Resident/Green Card or d)Investor Visa.

Since those restrictions only apply to a new incorporation, it is quite possible for an alien to come in on a tourist visa buy an existing business and then hire themselves as a contract worker, though there might be issues concerning ownership/sponsorship that could stand in the way.

Another way, and much easier, is to incorporate in a state that allows non residents to incorporate. Nevada is a good example, but most allow this. Have that Nevada corporation incorporate a business in the CNMI. This is an arms length approach and since it is a US entity doing the incorporating, it can be the owner of a CNMI business.

The new CNMI business could hire any number of contract workers, including the H1 and H2 classes. The H1B is a path to a green card...

And the best? The real ownership of the CNMI business is obfuscated.