Status for Foreign Workers

April 26, 2010

The long-awaited Department of Interior recommendation to Congress on the status of the CNMI's foreign workers will be revealed on Wednesday, April 28, 1010. Assistant Secretary of Interior will be meeting with Governor Fitial apparently to brief him on the recommendations.

Fitial said he would not oppose a recommendation for the guest workers to be given green cards, but at the same time has repeatedly stated that workers are "temporary."

Federal Ombudsman Pamela Brown has called leaders of guest worker groups to meet with her the same day to reveal the contents of the recommendations.

From the Consolidated Natural Resources Act (P.L. 110-299):

Report on Nonresident Guestworker Population- The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, shall report to the Congress not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008. The report shall include--
(1) the number of aliens residing in the Commonwealth;
(2) a description of the legal status (under Federal law) of such aliens;
(3) the number of years each alien has been residing in the Commonwealth;
(4) the current and future requirements of the Commonwealth economy for an alien workforce; and
(5) such recommendations to the Congress, as the Secretary may deem appropriate, related to whether or not the Congress should consider permitting lawfully admitted guest workers lawfully residing in the Commonwealth on such enactment date to appllong-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States.
The report is a recommendation. Any Congressional decision to act on the recommendation/s will take time especially in light of the partisan politics. Still, immigration reform is back on the font burner as Arizona's Republican Governor signed a controversial bill that President Obama called "misguided" and others have called unconstitutional. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that both immigration reform and energy will pass this year.

Meanwhile Governor Fitial is waiting for the final regulations from DHS before deciding whether to throw away more money to appeal the ill-conceived federal lawsuit to fight federalization. The Saipan Tribune reported:
Fitial's special legal counsel, Howard P. Willens, told Saipan Tribune Friday that only when DHS issues the final form of the regulations will they make any move on the issue.

“When DHS issues the regulations in final form, we expect that the department will move to dismiss the third count of the complaint on the grounds that the department has now fully complied with the relevant provisions of the APA,” he said.

Willens said the Commonwealth will consult with its lawyers to determine if any further relief should be sought from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“If no further relief is to be sought in this pending case, the third count will be dismissed and the question for the Commonwealth at that time will be whether it wishes to appeal any aspect of the court's earlier ruling with respect to counts one and two of the complaint challenging certain provisions of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (federalization law),” Willens said.
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget under the President of the United States released the dates for the timing on issuance of final regulations for the CNMI Transitional Worker Classification. The regualtions will be released in final form in September 2010. The Transitional Nonimmigrant Investor Classification final regulations will be issued in July 2010, and the issuance of the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program regulations will be issued in November 2010.

What audacity the governor has to be discussing spending more funds on this lawsuit when the government is deep in debt and government employee's are having their hours and wages cut. But that's another story...


Anonymous said...

This has been delayed "until further notice"
Seems since Obama took over the Fed can't get their "Ducks lined up" on time.