More Whine, Rant, Spin

March 21, 2010


This is getting old. The ranting, whining, spinning Fitial Administration folks defying Judge Friedman's decision and thumbing their noses at the CNRA and federal government.

More headlines today in the CNMI newspapers highlight Kaipat and Willens defending the local labor law that is in conflict with federal law, defending their position on umbrellas permits and claiming the CNMI has authority over the foreign workforce. Some snips of the spin from Fitial's supporters and spokespersons:
Willens - “Looking further ahead, the commonwealth will be free to consider alternative means of regulating its workforce in light of all applicable laws. The clear direction of [U.S. Public Law 110-229 or the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008] is that United States citizens are to be favored for employment and all foreign workers who cannot qualify under the federal system for a visa must be removed by the end of 2014.”
Kaipat: “[T]he change…will not work any hardship on our businesses. We at the Labor Department are very sensitive to the difficult economic circumstances in which businesses must operate. We recommended the flexible benchmark rather than the fixed percentage for both legal and practical reasons.”
Willens: “As amply documented in the Opinion of the Attorney General, the CNRA does not expressly or implicitly preempt local CNMI laws dealing with employment practices pursuant to the Commonwealth's authority over intrastate commerce and its police power. There is nothing in the language of the CNRA or its legislative history that suggest otherwise."
Other remarks from Kaipat:
“The Commonwealth has the power, like any state, to legislate with respect to the terms and conditions of employment in the Commonwealth. This legislation will last for as long as there is employment in the Commonwealth or until the Legislature amends it,” she said.

If enacted, the omnibus bill amends parts of Public Law 15-108, or the Commonwealth Employment Act of 2007. It will delete all regulations of the defunct CNMI Division of Immigration and “move any necessary language over to the labor regulations.”

She added that another key provision of the bill is the reorganization of CNMI Labor, so that the department “can address more effectively the problems of promoting citizen employment.”
No other state has local labor laws that interfere with the authority of the federal government or requires foreign nationals to register with them. None, nada, zilch!

Then there is the opposing headlines declaring the USCIS is certain on its position:
In his response to one of a few concerns on cases of umbrella permit revocation, Haith replied, “It's not yet 2011.” His response drew laughter from the audience.

The federal government's position is that the CNMI Labor loses authority to revoke the umbrella permits after the federal law took effect on Nov. 28, 2009.

The CIS official suggested to workers and employers to see their office or Federal Ombudsman Pamela Brown if they have problems over umbrella permit issues.
More Attacks on Federal Officials and Others
Kaipat also responded to a letter to foreign national worker, Malou Bereuco with a snarky letter to the editor of her own. She probably had her ghost writer, Deanne write it, and it's so annoying I'm not reprinting it here. I invite Malou to respond to it.

Howard Willens, special counsel for Governor Fital, was quoted by the Saipan Tribune as saying that Federal Ombudsman Pamela was premature when she stated that the Omnibus Bill will violate other federal law in addition to the CNRA (PL 110-229).

Kaipat also said Ms. Brown's statement questioning the legality of the bill is "wrong." From the Tribune:
“This is not an area of Ms. Brown's concern as federal ombudsman. So far as we know, no one at Homeland Security has asked her to take these confrontational actions in the Commonwealth,” she added.
Is Kaipat serious? How many people need to tell this power-seeking deputy secretary that Ms. Brown was authorized to speak on behalf of the federal government? It absolutely is within the ombudsman's power to address any issues related to foreign contract workers.

Kaipat, Fitial, Buckingham and the legislature are the confrontational ones in this drama. They are defiantly challenging the federal government. The federal officials have been extremely polite and patient considering the CNMI official's inappropriate comments and actions. Obviously these Fitial Administration officials, frustrated by the loss of their anti- federalization lawsuit, think that they can circumvent the CNRA and continue to maintain control of the broken system and continue local authority over the foreign workforce even though a federal judge ruled that they cannot. The highest federal officials need to weigh in on this and end the debate for the sake of the confused foreign nationals, employers, businesses and potential investors.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Howie gives me the willies, Kaipat is a crackpot. Who cares what they say? They only listen to each other now. The plug has been pulled on their gig.

Anonymous said...

Well, well. Looks like they may have gone too far this time. They are daring the feds to respond. They are acting like spoiled brats who were given a time out and still acted up. Watch out CNMI taunters, the response may be harsh.

Anonymous said...

It is every American's right to challenge the Federal Government Wendy. This is what makes this country the greatest thing since apple pie.

You are starting to sound like a relic from the Soviet Union, circa 1981.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 11:13

Challenging is fine. Questioning is fine. But to defy a court ruling, to overstep legal bounds, to clearly ignore laws, positions and statements is far more than challenging. Additionally the Fitial Administration's defiance and confrontational stance is harming the residents and foreign nationals, the business owners and investors. These rogue leaders have created confusion and uncertainty.

Your comparison is stupid and shows that you don't know your history.

Anonymous said...

It was stated on your blog that the United States does not allow hiring based on race, age, etc. Not true. It's called affirmative action. This very unconstitutional Federal law has been shot down, challenged (even by minorities) many times. Affirmative action has been ignored by State courts and there have been several successful reverse discrimination cases filed and won. So you see you can challenge the Federal Government and laws.

BTW Wendy, States, cities and towns sue the Feds all the time. Didn't you know that?

Wendy said...

Anonymous 11:33

Are you saying that Fitial will appeal the lawsuit? This is not about a lawsuit. It is about arrogant defiance and creating intentional confusion. You can't see the difference anonymous person with no conviction to sign your name?

Anonymous said...

this is out of line but, i just remembered after i read the lawyer's name willens, what's happening to the "massage scandal"? this case should not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, that could be the people who don't believe the Feds- who else-wasting time and money-instead of cooperating with the Feds to move on and let this dying economy survive the crisis-wake up, focus on economic recovery and work with the Feds, instead of making each different statements on the views of CRNA-start using our talent by creating a well balance community-start now while we have our investors, you could loose them. (sue)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous 11:13 and 11:33--

Actually, as I recall, the CNMI did challenge the federal government in federal court not too long ago, on the issue of who gets to control alien labor ...

AND THE CNMI LOST. BADLY.

Are you conveniently choosing to forget that?

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the feds slap down the CNMI leaders. All that's missing is the popcorn.

Anonymous said...

11:13 and 11:43

I hate it when people use one bad law to defend another bad law. Seems Wendy hit a nerve.