Report From Interior: Status Recommended for Long Term Foreign Workers

April 29, 2010

Here is the much-anticipated Report from the Department of Interior. It is straight forward, articulate, and everything that I expected it to be.


The statement that every foreign contract worker, every advocate, and every person with a moral compass hoped would be in the report, is in the report:
"Consistent with the goals of comprehensive immigration reform, we recommend that the Congress consider permitting alien workers who have lawfully resided in the CNMI for a minimum period of five years to apply for long-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States."
The first section of the 20-page report is an executive summary that is broken down by the requests from the Consolidated Natural Resources Act. (See the previous post for the language of the law.) Brief responses are given in the first section, and then are elaborated on in more detail in later sections of the report:
REQUEST (1): The number of aliens residing in the Commonwealth
Response: As of January 2010, the best available estimated numbers for aliens residing within the CNMI: 20,859 aliens in the CNMI, of which 16,304 are alien workers. The number of aliens was derived from an accounting performed by the Department of the Interior’s Ombudsman’s office, during which the Ombudsman asked aliens to register voluntarily. We believe this accounting captured the most reliable tally of aliens in the CNMI. However, as described on page 14 of this report, this number probably underestimates the true number of aliens because many of those present in the CNMI without legal status probably chose not to register.

REQUEST (2): A description of the legal status (under Federal law) of such aliens

Response: Under the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America (Covenant Act), the CNMI exercised control over its immigration system. Title VII of Public Law 110-229 amended the Covenant Act to provide that any aliens lawfully present in the CNMI on the transition program effective date (November 28, 2009) are not removable from the United States for being in violation of section 212(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [present without admission or parole] until the earlier of the date that is the completion of the period of the alien’s admission under the immigration laws of the CNMI or 2 years from the transition program effective date. Each alien who possessed a CNMI entry permit on November 27, 2009, was lawfully present in the CNMI on November 28, 2009 and able to avail himself or herself of the provisions contained in title VII. Based upon available data, approximately ninety-nine percent of the 20,859 aliens were legally in the CNMI and thus, are not removable under section 212(a)(6)(A) of the INA. The Ombudsman accounting is confirmed by the CNMI’s self reporting to GAO and data received from CNMI government including prior CNMI alien labor reports and tax records.

REQUEST (3): The number of years each alien has been residing in the Commonwealth

Response: The following is a summary and estimation of the numbers of aliens according to differing lengths of residence in the CNMI as collected by the Department of the Interior’s Federal Ombudsman:

5 years or more 15,816
3 years to 5 years 2,221
6 months to 3 years 1,979
less than 6 months 819
undeclared 24

REQUEST (4): The current and future requirements of the Commonwealth economy for an alien work force

Response: From a sample of ten Saipan Chamber of Commerce firms, the need for temporary alien workers is expected to increase by 15.9 percent between November 2009 and 2014.

REQUEST (5): Any such recommendations to the Congress, as the Secretary may deem appropriate, related to whether or not the Congress should consider permitting lawfully admitted alien workers lawfully residing in the Commonwealth on such enactment date to apply for long-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States

Response: Consistent with the goals of comprehensive immigration reform, we recommend that the Congress consider permitting alien workers who have lawfully resided in the CNMI for a minimum period of five years to apply for long-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States.
This is what the advocates and long-term foreign guest workers were hoping to hear! Aside from the positive recommendation for status, it should be noted that the DOI stated that 99% of the aliens are not removable until November 2011. Hopefully, the CNMI Department of Labor will take note of this.

The second section of the report is a "History of CNMI the Economy and Utilization of Alien Workers." It is a comprehensive look at the highs and lows of the economy that correlates with the rise and fall of the garment industry.

The third section of the report summarizes the statistics on the aliens in the CNMI including their numbers, their legal status and their years of residency. It details the ombudsman's accounting of the aliens in the CNMI. From the report:
On December 9, 2009, given the lack of a DHS registration and the refusal of the CNMI government to provide access to its border management system (BMS) and labor and immigration identification system (LIIDS), the Ombudsman’s office commenced counting the number of aliens present in the CNMI in order to provide the most accurate data for this report. Public notices regarding the accounting were posted in Chinese, Tagalog, English, and Korean, requesting all persons who did not hold U.S. passports or U.S. permanent resident cards to report to the Ombudsman. Citizens of freely associated states and other Pacific islands were considered alien (hereinafter “FAS citizens”) for purposes of the accounting. Meetings to brief major business leaders were conducted during this same period to reiterate the dual goals of the effort: obtain the most accurate count possible, while causing the minimum disruption to businesses in the CNMI.

One hundred and twenty two pages of data were gathered by the Ombudsman with the assistance and cooperation of not only major businesses but also the Catholic Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, the Philippine Consul General, the Japanese Consulate, the Korean Association, the Palauan Consulate and the leaders of alien workers’ groups such as the United Workers Group. Field enumeration began in Tinian on December 11, 2009, in Rota on December 12, 2009, and in Saipan on December 14, 2009. Because of the cooperative efforts of so many individuals and groups, over 21,000 aliens participated in the registration which ended on December 31, 2009.
I am glad that they noted the refusal of the CNMI government to share statistics and data.

The confirmation of the ombudsman's count is supported by the number of permits issued and the number of W-2s. The DOI provides tables to breakdown these figures. It also states that the February 16, 2010 GAO Report, CNMI Immigration and Border Control Databases, further confirmed the ombudsman's count. The section concludes:
Interior is confident that the actual accounting performed by the Ombudsman’s office captured the best available tally of aliens in the CNMI as of January 2010. The accounting concludes that there are 20,859 aliens in the CNMI, of which 16,304 are alien workers.
Concerning illegal aliens the report states:
We recognize that the methodology used by the Ombudsman likely undercounted the number of illegals who may have avoided being counted for fear of deportation. Persons who were illegally present in the CNMI (also referred to as “out of status”) just prior to the implementation of Federal administration on November 28, 2009 remain illegal.
The fourth section deals with the survey to determine the CNMI's future need for alien workers. The report stated:
Any projection of future labor needs, in an economic and business environment dominated by losses and a great deal of uncertainty, is extremely difficult. To make the job of estimating future demand for alien workers, as Public Law 110-229 requires, as practical as possible, Interior started with the Saipan Chamber of Commerce (SCC). Information gathered through the SCC provides a relatively good representation of business interests in the CNMI. Since Saipan represents over 91 percent of the CNMI population, it was deemed a sufficient domain for the survey.
The last of the five recommendations that the CNRA requested from the DOI is the one that concerns recommendations for status and this comprises the fifth section of the report. The report lists a variety of actions that the Congress may (or may not) consider including granting foreign workers with five or more years of residency U.S. citizenship through an Act of Congress.

I support immediate U.S. citizenship granted to the foreign workers by an Act of Congress. My second choice would be an unobstructed pathway to citizenship with no other conditions such as being chained to the CNMI for any length of time, or any nonimmigrant status. The foreign workers have already shown their commitment and loyalty to the CNMI by the length of time that they have resided in the CNMI, and by the valuable skills and amount of hard work that they have provided. They should not have to jump through any more hoops.

From the report:
Response: Consistent with the goals of comprehensive immigration reform, we recommend that the Congress consider permitting alien workers who have lawfully resided in the CNMI for a minimum period of five years to apply for long-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States. Statuses under the INA that could be considered include (but are not necessarily limited to):
(1) alien workers could be conferred United States citizenship by Act of Congress;
(2) alien workers could be conferred a permanent resident status leading to U.S. citizenship (per the normal provisions of the INA relating to naturalization), with the five-year minimum residence spent anywhere in the United States or its territories; or
(3) alien workers could be conferred a permanent resident status leading to U.S. citizenship, with the five-year minimum residence spent in the CNMI. Additionally, under U.S. immigration law special status is provided to aliens who are citizens of the freely associated states. Following this model,
(1) alien workers could be granted a nonimmigrant status like that negotiated for citizens of the freely associated states, whereby such persons may live and work in the United States and its territories; or
(2) alien workers could be granted a nonimmigrant status like that negotiated for citizens of the freely associated states, whereby such persons may live and work in the CNMI only.

Precedent for the Congress granting long-term status to nonimmigrant workers was set by Public Law 97-271 (1982) when the Congress, citing its special responsibility and authority with respect to territories and the establishment of immigration policy granted the opportunity to apply for U.S. permanent residence to more than 20,000 legal, long-time (more than seven years continuous residence), alien workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In P.L. 97-271, the Congress found that “in order to eliminate the uncertainty and insecurity of aliens who legally entered the Virgin Islands of the United States as nonimmigrants for employment under the temporary alien labor program, ha[d] continued to reside in the Virgin Islands for long periods (some for as long as twenty years), and have contributed to the economic, social, and cultural development of the Virgin Islands and ha[d] become an integral part of the society of the Virgin Islands, it is necessary and equitable to provide for the orderly adjustment of their immigration status to that of permanent resident aliens.” Congress also found that the immigration of family members of these workers would likely be detrimental to the Virgin Islands, and sharply limited the opportunity of family members not already long-term residents of the Virgin Islands to immigrate based upon the workers’ new status. Congress also significantly limited the entry of new temporary workers into the Virgin Islands. There may be some similarities between the alien workers’ situation in the CNMI and that of the Virgin Islands pre-P.L. 97-271.
We raise the precedent of P.L. 97-271 not to suggest that it is necessarily an appropriate specific model for a provision for the CNMI. Any legislation providing long-term status to workers in the CNMI would need to be carefully considered and drafted to provide appropriate provisions with respect to the extent of derivative eligibility for family members of workers and other important aspects of the program.
The report reflects much hard work and meticulous thought by Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta, the Federal Ombudsman Pamela Brown, and others who have had input on this report. Thank you to them all.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Mini Manila.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 2:25

More like mini-Guam?

Kudos to all the people (including Wendy, of course) who made this possible. Next stop: US Congress.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous2:25 what do you mean with that comment are you being sarcastic...

Wendy said...

Anonymous 2:25

Welcome to Mini-Manila? The foreign workers have been in the CNMI for decades. In the late 1990s they outnumbered the locals. Giving them citizenship will not change the fact that the CNMI has had a diverse cultural make-up for years. The only difference is when Congress grants status to the foreign workers they will no longer be a disenfranchised underclass. And in the extreme and unlikely case that Congress does not grant status, the only difference will be the exodus of the foreign workers to places that will welcomes them as future citizens and the return of the CNMI to a subsistence economy and way of life.

Manila is a great place and so is the CNMI!

Captain said...

Maybe Congress can act fast and most of these workers will be able to work on the military buildup construction in Guam. This would be better for the companies in Guam instead of bringing in 25K workers from the Phil.
The worker would not be "tied" to the company and would provide their own housing etc.

This will save the companies thousands per worker and also cut a lot of labor abuse.
"No pay, no work."
They (workers) can leave their families in the NMI (or not) and they would all be able to travel back and forth.

Now these NMI lawmakers are already mad and crying.
Some think the workers will compete for jobs from the "locals" (already) (what jobs?) This will free up many positions in the NMI for locals.
Now lets see what the NMI people say about the minimum wage that these elected and private are trying to keep down.
Lets see how many will work in the private sector for the minimum wages.
Lets see how many business in the private sector raise their wages to keep their workers.
This will be interesting in the next few months.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Do you know when the recommended 5 year cut off date would be? 5 years before what date exactly?

Anonymous said...

How about those people who stayed under five (5) years..What will happen to them or what are they waiting at...

The Saipan Blogger said...

Hi Wendy,

I disagree with you on your claim that workers could go to other places that "welcomes them as future citizens." The US is ahead of the curve in granting citizenship to foreigners.

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I don't believe workers in Singapore, Japan, and Saudi Arabia have a pathway to citizenship. Maybe Canada does, but I think they might be the exception.

What you are asking is not the norm around the world, even if it is the norm in the United States.

God Bless America.

:)

Angelo

PS I'd like to see some analysis on what this decision will have on other aspects of life in the CNMI. For example, what will adding 20,000 non-indigenous voters to the voter rolls do to the system of one-vote, one-job that currently exists? What will be the effect of turning thousands of poverty stricken foreigners into US citizens? How many are expected to go on welfare or avail of other federal programs like medicare and medicaid? What will be that cost?

One of the benefits will be that the new citizens will finally be able to own their own small businesses, which is the basis of job creation in America.

Anonymous said...

This is only recommendations as before... Next stop...US Congress....How long the waiting again...Ha?

Anonymous said...

Please read:

Virgin Islands Nonimmigrant Alien Adjustment Act of 1981

http://www.loc.gov/law/find/hearings/pdf/00183878554.pdf

Anonymous said...

"Manila is a great place and so is the CNMI!"

Yeah right. Children living on the streets in card board boxes while politicians wisk by in SUVs.

No Wendy, Manila is a living hell for 80% of the people who live there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:25
What am I supposed to be reading?

From my personal reading of the Virgin Islands case months ago, the status cutoff seemed to keep political control in local people, and the locals supported the bill. Both do not exist here in the CNMI.

Virgin Islands Nonimmigrant Alien Adjustment Act of 1981

p 22. "H.R. 3517 was submitted in draft form to the legislature of the Virgin Islands by Governor Juan Luis as a joint proposal by the Governor and the Delegate to Congress. The legislature has responded formally endorsing H.R. 3517 in an unamimous vote of 9-0 on April 29, 1981".

I believe that the CNMI status provisions will need to be part of the general immigration reform act.

The Saipan Blogger said...

"Yeah right. Children living on the streets in card board boxes while politicians wisk by in SUVs."

Are you describing Saipan or Manila? Have you ever driven through the streets of Garapan?

Wendy said...

Anonymous 1:06

Please provide me with your sources for your statistics that "Manila is a living hell for 80% of the people who live there."

Children on the streets. Yes, it is a terrible problem that should and must be addressed not just in Manila, but in major cities across the U.S. and in many countries in the world. The largest growing segment of homeless in the US is women and children.

Wendy said...

Hi Angelo

Our friends or relatives from the Philippines and Bangladesh have gone to New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the US mainland as foreign workers and are now citizens in those countries. (Some in U.S. are green card holders.) Two of our relatives that were nurses in the CNMI went to the U.S, mainland and are now citizens. Ditto for our nephew who is a physical therapist. Our friend in New Zealand was an agricultural worker on a kiwi farm! Now a citizen. I know former foreign workers from Canada who are now citizens. Ditto for Australia.

I am doing research and a comparison of immigration and pathway to citizens by country and will publish it here.

The Saipan Blogger said...

I guess I should have included Australia and New Zealand in with Canada.

Are there statistics on what countries have guest workers? I was under the impression that a lot went to Thailand, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Another issue is Dual Citizenship. Will all that take U.S. Citizenship have to renounce their home country? It could be difficult for these to visit their home country and families residing there.

Anonymous said...

First we gave away our Government to what you could consider nothing less than a mafia. Now we have to give up our Islands as well. At least Article 12 will prevent us from losing our physical properties too. Is this going to be the transition station for everyone that wants to become a U.S. Citizen? Kinda funny, this was Uncle Bens mess with the guest workers so many years ago, now it is his mess again.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:07,

Please do a bit more research on the Virgin Islands before taking one quote out of the "Virgin Islands Nonimmigrant Alien Adjustment Act of 1981".

While it maybe true that it was introduced by their Congressman, the pathway to that point was a 30 year trek through the same bigotry, racism and unconstitutional laws that also are plaguing our islands.

The Congressman and the Governor only turned and embraced the application of status once the writing was clearly on the wall.

What DOI has set forth in this report is the writing on the wall. Kilili has already has already stated that he supports status for foreign workers. A law and the status application are already being considered and had been considered for over 15 years for the foreign workers in the CNMI.

Read up more on both the VI and the CNMI from an objective position and you will see just how eerily similar the two cases are.

I have no doubt that the results will be similar too.

Anonymous said...

Angelo,

I wonder if they did a thorough analysis before granting citizenship to your poverty stricken ancestors when we entered into this commonwealth. I wonder if the US taxpayers were concerned about what would happen. I mean, you indigenous people of the CNMI are still majorly sapping US tax dollars to the tune of $200+ million a year not to mention that more 70% of the CNMI US citizen population is on welfare. The latest statistic has it pegged at over 30,000 households in the CNMI are on welfare. PSS gets more than 50% of their funding from US taxpayers to school the CNMI kids. I can go on.


Do YOU do your research (and do you ever) before opening your mouth.

A Statesider said...

Anon 8:58

The U.S. government must have felt that the benefits it would receive by having a political alliance with the NMI would outweigh the costs, or it would not have entered into the relationship. Let me remind you that young Chamorro and Carolinian men and women are serving honorably in our military, and dying in greater numbers, statistically, than Mainlanders. Let me remind you that these islands still hold strategic significance for the U.S. Let me remind you that lots of other groups of people were "poverty stricken" when they first gained entry to the U.S., and in the long term, they worked hard, saved their money, made sure their kids went to college, and are now firmly ensconced in the Middle class. There's no reason to believe that local people aren't doing the same thing for their families. Look at the Ada, Torres, Cabrera, Camacho, Castro, Villagomez, Tenorio, Pangelinan, and other families who have sons and daughters in the professions. We are making progress here, despite the criminality and corruption of the current Covenant administration.

The Saipan Blogger said...

I don't think there are 30,000 households in the CNMI, never mind 30,000 on welfare, but that's beside the point.

What is wrong with exploring the effects of a government decision before it is made?

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't necessarily agree with you on the following statement:
"The foreign workers have already shown their commitment and loyalty to the CNMI by the length of time that they have resided in the CNMI"
Loyalty? Really? If you definition of loyalty means keeping all of your money in the back or sending millions back in remittance instead of spending it here in the NMI, then I guess they were and continue to be "Loyal". And when they get status how "Loyal" do you think they would be? Do they have a reason to be "Loyal". According to the horrible way they are treated probably not. So let's not say they did anything but stay here and work (and I agree they do a good job) After all, I'm "loyal" to my company as long as the paycheck is coming.

Saipan Writer said...

I think this is wonderful news and much welcomed. I think it's fair to give civil rights and a continuing right to remain to those who have lawfully contributed to the CNMI through their labor or presence for a significant period of time. I'm glad that time period is set at five years--which is long enough, but not so long that it will benefit many.

I'm sorry this has taken so long to achieve. There are many workers who lost their legal status when the garment factories pulled out, despite have provided decades of work here.

One last note--the report was given to Lieutenant Governor Eloy Inos because Governor Fitial was off-island. He was indeed--I saw him on Managaha, where he went for an afternoon of relaxation.

Anonymous said...

To Statesider,

I agree. I was turning the "poverty stricken" comment made by Angelo back on him. I could care less how rich or poor someone is when they are granted citizenship. Obviously to Angelo this is an issue. I simply asked him if he also had an issue with his ancestors who were also poverty stricken (in some people's view) were granted US Citizenship.

The Covenant itself states that a goal was to raise the CNMI's standard of living from where it was upon passage.

Anonymous said...

Angelo,

You waste everyone's time and energy with your undocumented comments and your suppositions that are thrown out as if they are fact.

As I stated above, try reading and doing some research before you open you speak.

http://www.mvariety.com/2010031524713/local-news/food-stamp-island.php

OVER 30,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN THE CNMI ARE ON WELFARE.

Do you understand? Is it shocking? Yes it is and you should be appalled!

Obviously you are in denial because you can not fathom that according to your assessment of only about 30,000 household sin the CNMI that documented statistic would mean that nearly 100% of households are receiving welfare at the US taxpayer expense.

I remember when the heads of Yap and Palau turned away the offer for federal welfare aid for their people. I don't know if they still do that. AT the time they could not conceive of the concept of food stamps when they could grow and fish.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy,

Maybe you could add Italy, Rome, Aruba, France and United Kingdom in your research and analysis.

Anonymous said...

Well that is just despicable (and typical) of this governor, to run away to Managaha so he doesn't have to deal with Tony Babauta and the Interior report. But it's not the first time he has snubbed federal officials, and it probably won't be the last.

What a loser.

Anonymous said...

Angelo,

You stated, "What is wrong with exploring the effects of a government decision before it is made?"

Nothing is wrong with that. What is wrong is your nonsense spin. Do your exploring before engaging your mouth and spewing forth your misleading opinions disguised as relevant questions.

If the recommendations of DOI are honored and US Citizenship is given to legal workers who have been in the CNMI for 5+ years, what kind of true impacts would the CNMI feel? You are talking about individuals who have been living with us for more than 5 years. This granting of status will not cause a massive influx of foreign workers to flood our shores. That happened under our own watch without any resistance from indigenous freedom fighters. It happened during the garment boom. Review your CNMI history. The entire CNMI infrastructure was negatively impacted by that "local", unchallenged decision. Our power generation was taxed, our sewers, our roads, our city dump, MOUNTAIN PUERTO RICO (filled with garment scraps and chemical waste) was negatively impacted to the point of closure, our hospitals were impacted and our schools not to mention the worst impact of our local decision to embrace garment and bring in multitudes of foreign workers, that being, our image. We are still suffer from the stigma and embarrassment of that chapter in our history. A chapter that has and was never opposed by the indigenous population of the CNMI on the whole. Surprisingly, it was embraced by the same people that today are championing indigenous rights and preaching xenophobic ideas.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 4:53

I am including the countries that accept foreign workers. The list is staggering. My goal is to find out what countries are the best destinations for foreigners to work, and the places that should be avoided. I will publish the study when I finish, but this summer I am working on a report for a nonprofit. So it may be a while.

Angelo,

About your question as to when the five years starts - When the ombudsman did the registration one question was, "How many years have you been in the CNMI?" (I'm para-phrasing.) The 5 years may be based on that, but I am not sure. It seems it will be based backwards from the time the law is made. I will find out.

I don't think there needs to be further analysis. It's well-past time that the long term foreign workers should receive citizenship or an unobstructed pathway to citizen. So many are already back in their homelands without having received their back wages and without justice after living and working there for years even decades. It's sad. I hope Congress acts quickly before more people fall through the cracks.
___________

I am sure that the low minimum wage is related to the high percentage of households on food stamps and other federal programs.

A person's income should not affect their ability to become a citizen. My ancestors came to the U.S. with the clothes on their backs. They did fine! Of course people who are denied the ability to start their own businesses and are tied to employers and a system that encourages their poverty and dependence will not have lots of money.

People who pay taxes and contribute to the community for years and decades must have social and political rights including the right to vote.

Anonymous said...

This is not meant to be critical nor racist but why is Cinta and Felicidad against this when they know full well -- they in fact celebrate the fact -- that their ancestors themselves were immigrants to the CNMI.

Read it twice said...

I agree with Angelo that considerably less than 30,000 people are on food stamps. See http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=30178
and http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2009/December/12-23-08.htm

And to Anon 8:50
(p.23) "I feel very deeply that H.R. 3517 represents the wishes of the majority of the people of the US Virgin Islands"

I am not saying that this bill will not become a law independantly or as an insertion into general immigration reform, but I can't make any predictions until the November CNMI Delegate Race.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Hi Wendy,

Whether or not you feel there is a need for further analysis, the fact remains that the analysis is just beginning. The recommendation right now is nothing but a recommendation. It still has to go through the Congress...and as much as I want the Democrats to stay in power, there is always the possibility that Republicans could regain control of the House or Senate or Both in November. That would stall any legislation.

To the anonymous people above:

A person's income does affect their ability to become a citizen. Under current US law most of the guest workers in the CNMI would not qualify for green cards because they do not make enough money. An exemption to the rule is being asked to be made. The arguments for this exception are strong, but it may not be given.

Also, why all the vitriol from asking a legitimate question? This is a comments section of a blog, not my Ph.D dissertation; instead trying to force me to agree with you just because I should agree with you, why not try to help me and the other readers understand some of the peripheral issues?

If the majority of the contract workers suddenly became eligible for food stamps and the number of recipients doubles over night, will that decrease the amount of money given out to each family in the CNMI? That is a legitimate question. As you point out, it will affect nearly every household in the CNMI.

I ask the question not to oppose what is being proposed, but so that we can plan on how to deal with the issue. Your attempts to label me as anti-contract worker have grown tiresome. It is no wonder people opposed to you don't want to work with you if you can't even work with the people who would support you.

Anonymous said...

As for Welfare, there is no such thing in the CNMI, as well as Unemployment benefits. Food stamps and EIC are for low income U.S. citizens. Now what you seem to overlook is the number of guest workers children that were born here and are U.S. Citizens by birth. I know many of the children that are getting food stamps and WIC even though both parents. Look at the birth rate for the past 18 years and almost every child born here to guest workers are on food stamps. Now you know where the 30,000 number comes from. Even though these are numbers from 2001, the numbers have increase, especially with the guest workers births. See page 12 in this report.
http://www.pacificweb.org/DOCS/cnmi/pdf/2001%20Yearbook.pdf

Anonymous said...

"Whether or not you feel there is a need for further analysis, the fact remains that the analysis is just beginning."

Says you, Cinta, Filicidad and Ben.

Whether any of you can read or not is questionable based on that statement. Just because you are unhappy with the results of years (10+) of analysis into the temporary guest worker program in CNMI, does not make that analysis disappear.

Do some research before posting your suppositions based on nonfactual beliefs.

Anonymous said...

After reading the pacificweb report, I believe that the Mvariety meant to say that there are 10,000 households, containing 30,000 people receiving food stamps. There are only approximately 14,000 households in the CNMI in any statistical report. If there were 30K households there would be at least 60-90K people in those households receiving food stamps for a total population of about 120K+ which is not correct.

Many guest worker families receive Wic and medicaid for their children already, and it does place a burden, not to mention the 600 kids currently waitlisted for the head start program.

The real issue is the political power shift if the workers remain and become citizens. The Covenant Party would be removed and there would likely be a filipino governor, congressmen, all government jobs, and article 12 would be removed and there would be an end to the second class status of foreign workers.

The writing is already on the wall. If the CNMI really wanted to try to address the issue, they would immediately promote the use of federal temporary h-2 visas for farming and tourism and apoligize for the CW lawsuit nonsense. What Fitial is doing is actually fuel to the fire of the feds who have the ability to completely change the "face" of the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

The Covenant itself states that a goal was to raise the CNMI's standard of living from where it was upon passage.

No, that is setting the bar very low, and not what was promised. The U.S. neglected the TTPI economically for decades, keeping the CNMI far below the standard of living of the American political family.

The Covenant actually refers to the feds helping the CNMI “to achieve a progressively higher standard of living for its people as part of the American economic community and to develop the economic resources needed to meet the financial esponsibilities of local self-government.”

Covenant § 701, 48 U.S.C. § 1801 note.

The CNMI is supposed to be able to reach an American standard of living. Instead, the feds killed our garment industry, and now want to saddle us with all the left-over unskilled workers, to the grave disadvantage of our indigneous workers.

Giving the contract workers green cards, unless they are also given plane tickets out of the CNMI, is clearly a violation of Covenant Section 701.

Anonymous said...

phillipios have been in the marianas since magellan. in fact chamorros are derived from phillpino stock. whats the issue here?

Anonymous said...

I for one can see this whole situation getting out of hand if the guest workers are given green cards or whatever and have to remain in the CNMI for a given time. The local population will be turned against them. It is an ugly thing to say, but sometimes the truth hurts. I am already seeing a negative attitude with the locals and it only growing everyday.

Like I said, a guest is only a guest. Once a guest starts demanding everything from the host, it gets ugly.

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:48,

You say "no" and then quote exactly what was stated.

As I clearly stated and as you reiterated and quoted, one of the major goals of the Covenant(the agreement between us and the U.S.) was to raise the standard of living for the people of the CNMI.

You argue that they "killed our garment industry". I, as a US Citizen who is a resident of the CNMI and of Carolinian ancestry argue that the garment industry did not "raise our standard of living". Numerous studies have shown without a doubt that garment industries DO NOT help an island economy or raise the standard of living for it's populace as a whole.

The garment industry greatly devastated our environment (land and water and air). It created the largest population increase in the history of the world here in the CNMI. This stressed and negatively affected out island infrastructure to the point of near collapse (sewer, power, water, landfill, etc). It allowed for massive abuses of labor hired to work in Garments resulting in the largest labor fine in the history of the world being levied against the Tan empire.

The only people that the garment industry benefited was Tan and the other Foreign owners of garment factories and their Clients in the mainland and across the world.

If it benefited these islands so much, what do we have to show for that benefit? A broken power facility, mount puerto rico dump, a demolished lagoon, 42 hallow and dangerous garment plants (deemed hazardous brownsfields by EPA and our government), a severely damaged tourism industry due to a massive shift in focus from tourism to garment and so many other problems.

The unskilled workers that you are referring to were not brought in by the feds. Talk to Fitial. He and our local leaders allowed and embraced that.

Giving long-term guest workers that have lived with us a pathway to US Citizenship is not only in line with the Covenant it is also a damn smart economic decision and will be the first step in reversing the stupid decisions of our past leaders and setting the CNMI on a track to finally RAISE OUR STANDARD OF LIVING once and for all.

Taking away the abusive guest worker access was phase one. Zeroing out abused and disenfranchised remaining guest workers by granting citizenship is step two. Successful economy that is local and organically developed is step three.

Get your head out of the sand.

Anonymous said...

the workers should be given something for the racial abuse they have had to endure for so long here. what that is I don't know. to be a US citizen you should have to go through the process everyone else has to.

Captain said...

noni 8:15 HUH!! What process did the people in the NMI go through at the time that they where granted a US Passport?????
Do you live here, are you familiar with these islands and history or are you living on the mainland??

Captain said...

noni 8:15 HUH!! What process did the people in the NMI go through at the time that they where granted a US Passport?????
Do you live here, are you familiar with these islands and history or are you living on the mainland??

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine the chaos once status is given and the exodus begins. This island will be nothing more than a big trash pile (not a trash can) because the GW will dump everything they don't want to take with them and dump is anywhere. Rents will be late and unpaid, loans will go into default and vehicles will be abandoned near the closest exodus point. Electric/water/phone/cable bills will be unpaid and the meters will just keep ticking away till cuc disconnects. Charge accounts with local stores will not be paid and will have to take the loss. Many will not have the money to go to the states and will look for an alternate source of income to facilitate their travel needs.
It is clear we will be left holding the bag on this one.

We might be able to minimize the impact of the exodus by requiring CLEARANCE DOCUMENTS FROM:
CHC
CUC
Supreme Court
Police Dept
Phone Company
BMV (if vehicle is registered to them)
Cable
Bank
Tax and Rev
Medical Clearance
Marriage Certificate/Birth (One spouse only Pease, and hope the one back home don't make waves)
Employer Clearance
Drug testing
and many more that would be listed if applicable.

Additionally, each creditor, bank, employer, etc should be turning in a complete customer status for their respective area's. If someone owes you money or goods, you should be able to submit to immigration/customs the items and it should flag upon departure if open.

Both of these processes can be streamlined and coordinated to prevent needless bottlenecks or hassles about getting cleared. Coordination between the Feds, CNMI Gov, and private businesses should be open with easy access and fast processing. The delay at the airport should not exceed 2 minutes if all has been completed. If there is an unresolved issue, you will have to fix it, then depart. It might make sense to perform the clearance process 2 to 3 days in advance of your flight. That would expedite departures.

Wendy said...

Anonymous Hater at 1:52

The federal government does not view legal immigrants as criminals. Apparently, the CNMI AG and DOL do not view employers who abuse and cheat their workers as criminals either. I do. The employers owe thousands of workers back pay and you have the audacity to say that the poorly paid workers will leave a garbage pile and unpaid bills?

Drug tests, marriage certificates? You think that the federal government would actually coordinate a disgusting, sick plan like the one you propose. Get help. FAST.

Anonymous said...

Captain.

The people of the CNMI voted to become part of the American family. They were offered that by the USA. They accepted. They became citizens.

THe USA has not offered the PI or Sri Lanka or China the same, for obvious reasons.

If these workers want citzenship then FOLLOW THE LAW AS IT STANDS.

Anonymous said...

Noni 8:40, What are you talking about? It is law when the US Congress passes it. If these same foreign workers were in the US over 5 years they would already qualify for green cards. Are Sri Lanki, PI or China US commonwealths?

Anonymous said...

How wrong you are. If congress passes it, you would be entitled to APPLY for U.S. Citizenship. Read the 5 options again.

Anonymous said...

(1) alien workers could be conferred United States citizenship by Act of Congress;

Anonymous said...

lets hope they are not. it is BS.

John said...

So it all starts again, just as it was when African-Americans were viewed as slaves back in America. People who chose the right path (The Union) fought for EQUALITY. While those who saw it otherwise The Confederates) decided to fight against it. We were not born to judge if a person deserves a better life or not. It is not in our hands to do so. We should all see this as an opportunity to help others. Isn't that what we were thought as children? By our religion? When was the last time we heard someone, who was in their right mind say, "I hope they don't get a better life." For what reasons? Sounds selfish? Well it probably is. And no, it's not because we are looking out for our self preservation, our customs, our culture. It is because we are afraid that such recommendation by the Interior to grant improved status, should it be passed by Congress and signed by the President, will only prove that part of the local indigenous people supports the notion of having guest workers remain in the CNMI, but without status. It is an admission that part of the local indigenous people support a broken system that promotes a disenfranchised underclass where foreign workers are considered replaceable commodities, and not viewed as future citizens., which in turn results to inequality and uncertainty. We will never get anywhere if we stand apart. Let's build a better CNMI TOGETHER. We all strive for a better life, right? So who are we to deny that to somebody else?

Anonymous said...

Even if Congress does nothing, a majority of foreign national workers have U.S. citizen children who can petition them for green cards when the child turns 21.