Be Careful or You May Get What You Wish For

May 3, 2010

Governor Fitial and others who want to keep the foreign contract workers chained to the CNMI as a disenfranchised underclass may risk seeing the majority of them exit in 2014. Seriously, if the long term foreign workers are not granted U.S. citizenship or a direct pathway to citizenship, they may be leaving if they can not qualify for a U.S. work visa or leaving on their own to work in countries where foreign workers are regarded as future citizens. It would be in the best interest of all who call the CNMI their home to embrace the Obama Administration's report.

Congressman Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan told the Saipan Tribune:

“We need a labor force for our economy. We need consumers in our economy. Can we really afford to send all 20,000 foreign workers home?” he asked.

Sablan also cited Fitial's statements to the media in December stating that he won't oppose the federal government's granting of “green cards” to alien workers should the federal government decides to do so.

“Well, as you know the governor said months ago that he is not opposed to green cards. And now the Secretary of the Interior is agreeing with the governor on that,” he added.
Was Fitial's greencard statement a ploy to gain votes from foreign-born citizens? Why make such a statement if you are not going to stand behind it?

It is undemocratic, un-American and immoral to deny status that allows for a direct pathway to citizenship to a group of people who have built the islands, renewed year after year because their skills were needed, and for many, have lived and worked in the CNMI longer than in their home countries. The report from the Department of Interior recognizes this and reflects the federal view, which states:
“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.”
Whiners
It is also typical of the Fitial Administration to whine that they were not given opportunities to be involved in the process. That is just a blatant and outright lie. If the workers and advocates, who lack funds and resources could be involved, why couldn't the well-connected CNMI leaders? If I could discuss this when I travelled to Washington DC, why couldn't the governor and other leaders who were there? The governor met with DOI officials in March 2010. Are we to believe this was not brought up? If not he has only himself to blame.

The Saipan Tribune reported:

Demapan said the Fitial administration “is deeply disappointed by the lack of consultation and the actions of DOI in submitting the recommendations to Congress six hours before local leaders had a chance to see its contents for the first time.”

...Demapan said the CNMI was not afforded the opportunity to review a draft report nor offer alternative recommendations that would reflect the concerns of the government and the local community.

“The administration finds it appalling that the process was pretty much railroaded. Moreover, the administration has called into question the supporting data used by DOI to issue such recommendations. It is quite disappointing that the feedback of 10 business entities was used as the basis that would determine the economic future of the CNMI in terms of addressing the fate of alien workers in the Northern Marianas,” he said.

He said in view of Interior's action, Fitial will call for a leadership meeting to include elected leaders such as members of the Legislature and the mayors.

Fitial will also include in the meeting the heads of the Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, the Marianas Visitors Authority, and Office of the Attorney General.

“The governor and lieutenant governor want to ensure that through a meeting of the minds with our islands’ leaders, a comprehensive consensus will be attained in charting how best we can make the concerns of our islands heard in halls of the U.S. Congress,” Demapan said.
Apparently the governor was not so interested in seeing the document. He skipped out on the meeting with the Assistant Secretary to go to Managaha Island.

Whether they saw the report a week in advance, a day in advance or the day that it was presented to them, the content would be the same! It is the federal stand.

Is the Fitial Adnministration truly representing the majority view of the local populations? What about all of the indigenous people who wrote letters, signed petitions, and submitted testimony supporting improved status?

Hearing
I will submitting testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Hearing on federalization issues that is scheduled for May 18, 2010. If any long term foreign contract workers or their supporters wish to write letters on their position, I will attach them to my testimony. I most likely will attend the hearing.

It is in the best interest of the business community to support the Obama Administration's position. I also invite any business owners to write letters in support of the DOI recommendation. Granting the long-term foreign workers green cards or citizenship would ensure a stable workforce that would grow the CNMI economy and encourage investment.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hypothetically, what would happen to the CNMI if the majority of skilled workers (nurses, accountants, engineers, teachers) are given status and they immediately travel to guam or the mainland and the majority of unskilled workers (maids, cashiers, farmers, pawn shop employees) stay in Saipan.

I belive that if given status, the younger and more educated workers will immediately depart, and the CNMI will be left with many older and less educated non residents. This would place a strain on the social services and the CNMI would still have to recruit new workers from abroad. That scenario is great for the individual workers, but not a good outcome for the CNMI.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Alright,

Has anyone pointed out that there are more Chamorros living in the United States than there are in the Northern Mariana Islands? If you want workers, just have everyone come home.

But then again, this isn't about workers, it is about control.

Some thoughts:

1) Granting citizenship would create jobs because it would suddenly be legal for contract workers to own small businesses. The contract workers in the Northern Marianas are skilled; they are more skilled than the indigenous. Like the Phoenicians and the Jews before them (in other places, at other times), the contract workers would drive commerce, create jobs and hire indigenous. Indigenous would not control commerce.

2) Granting citizenship would lead to the end of the monopoly control the indigenous people have on all three branches of government. It would either end the system of one vote, one job, or it would make it so burdensome that the system would collapse from its own weight. Non-indigenous would be elected to office (so far only half-indigenous have had any luck outside of BOE). Indigenous would not control government.

3) Article XII would be abolished within a few years. Indigenous would not control the land.

To the governor and many others, the issue of control is tied to culture. They do not believe their culture will survive if they do not maintain control.

Control is also about control. And they don't want to give up control. It is in their personal interest not to give up control and it should not be realistically expected that they freely give it up.

Those who have power rarely give it away easily.

Anonymous said...

3:52 No one knows who would stay or who would go. Most guest workers don't have the cash to uproot families and move to Guam or the mainland. Some have relatives in the CNMI and others have jobs, friends, and deep roots.

Wendy said...

Angelo:

To maintain a culture you do not have to oppress other people. Too bad the Fitial Administration and so many of the CNMI's leaders do not understand this.

Control in this case, has always been about maintaining a two-tiered underclass of disenfranchised workers for two reasons: money and power.

Anonymous said...

what is perplexing is the two-sided argument from locals.

On the one hand, if THEY get citzenship then WE will be outvoted and lose power. OMG! perhaps people like Tina will get elected again....maybe even as Governor....

On the other hand, if THEY get citzenship THEY will leave and WE will not have anyone to replace them in the workforce...? That seems to be a rather low opinion of oneself...

What is it then.... the desire to keep others repressed for OUR satisfaction. ????

Anonymous said...

Angelo said . . .

If you want workers, just have everyone come home.

Wholly unrealistic. How can you force people to move back? People have free wills.

But then again, this isn't about workers, it is about control.

No. And this points out the error in your first statement.

It is about economics!

It is about money, about jobs. And the federal government has been doing everything it can, intentionally or unintentionally, to sabotage the CNMI economy. Garment shut-down, minimum wage increase, investor/labor controls, no military build-up here, etc.

The alien brain drain is a perfect example. The skilled, industrious, and trained will run off to Guam and the mainland, while the CNMI will be left with the shiftless, the scammers, and the lazy.

Federalizer simpletons are "perplexed" that there are two possibilities (as explained in the prior paragraph) and express consternation that the locals are "inconsistently" pointing out these problems.

Fortunately Kilili is smart enough to fight against the unintentional federalizer genocide!

Biba Kilili!

BTW, Wendy expresses surprise that Fitial does not kowtow to her buddy Tony Babauta.

Surprise, surprise! The CNMI does not work for Interior. Nor does the Governor. Interior is supposed to be helping us, serving us.

So they issue a report to Congress without even giving us an advance copy to comment on and to include those comments in the report itself? How one-sided and biased!

Wendy claims we had "opportunities" for input? No Ma'am! Not when Tony Babauta doesn't even let us have access to the arguments or proposals to be made.

It is almost as if he is trying to take personal revenge on the CNMI for their service as Japanese subjects during World War II.

No CNMI genocide!

Anonymous said...

"Be careful for what you wish for..."?

The Federal Government wants the alien workforce to leave not the CNMI. Have you been reading what you post Wendy? FEDERAL LAW mandates ZERO guest workers, not the CNMI.

BOTW said...

on the subject of being outvoted, do you notice how many non-local consultants and experts there are in the government?

yes, you vote local leaders, but who do you think are really running the show with their ideas?

hmmm let's see... Buckingham, Siemer...

wouldn't it be better if the really qualified leaders are voted in office because majority of voters would vote by qualification not mere blood relations. that would be the day when politicos would really do their job to gain votes.

Anonymous said...

Funny what Lt. Gov. Inos said yesterday in the newspaper. I wonder why nobody reacted.

Anon above is right. They want us to leave and they dont want us to leave. Make up your mind!

Culture will not perish as long as you nurture it. It will be passed to your children, children's children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. It is how you practice and embrace it. Filipino US Citizens in SF, holding on the Santacruzan, Simbang Gabi, Holy Week Festivities,etc, Fililpino Australian Citizens are doing the same there,and Filipinos residing in all other countries . These are just a few examples.

Honestly I still dont understand how giving us US citizenship (not Chamorro Citizenship)will make the locals lose their culture. I asked my local friends and even them could not give me an answer. They even told me that we, aliens have been embracing the Local Culture. If these people will really look closely, we Filipinos & Chamorros have almost identical culture, mores, custom, beliefs & religion.

In addition, we have the same last names whether you like it or not.

Ai Adai! Baseless fear!

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

If a college educated chamorro, or any Saipan raised U.S. citizen, returns to the CNMI and does not get a government job, he will have to compete with guest workers for 4.55/hr job, and will probably get frustrated when the JVA renewals are for a 5+ year employee who the employer had no thought of letting go.

A large percentage of guest workers will leave by 2014 one way or another. The government needs to push training and employment of locals to replace the forseeable current guest workers. 15 1/2 should be the age of a first job. Youth entreprenur programs such as Junior Achievement should be fully embraced. Vocational programs through PSS should be expanded. The apprenticeship programs should be expanded. Government lawyers should hold seminars on how to file h-2 temporary and seasonal visas. The CNMI government needs to push pay bands even for the CW visa, so that skilled locals and non-residents earn fair market salaries.

Does anyone wonder why Guam legislators didn't want CNMI workers to get status? Is it because the represent the interests of their local constituents who don't want depressed wages? Why are depressed wages acceptable here in the CNMI?

Most businesses in the CNMI are labor intensive or inefficient. How many businesses use a payroll service. I saw an ad for an accountant at a small grocery store (4.55/hr.). Take for instance the lawn care businesses, not one has a lawnmower. Why not open a small business adminstration to help businesses with loans for equiptment, payroll assistance, and productivity consultations. Why not develop tax or monetary incentives ($6/hr jobs in which 3/hr paid by government, $3/hr paid by employer for first 3 months to retain local workers.

Just a thought.

The Saipan Blogger said...

That comment about college educated locals is not true.

I never worked for the government and contract workers never competed with me for jobs. I made hundreds of dollars off of my blog, never mind the work that I did for various non-profits.

There is plenty of money to be made in the CNMI, but the small minded people who have never left the island don't know how to make commerce. They only know about holding down government jobs.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 9:16

I have said repeatedly since May 2008 that the CNRA calls for workers to leave by 2014. I have also said that if the CNMI government wants the needed workforce then it should encourage the federal government to grant status to them. It makes absolutely no sense to claim that the CNMI needs 16,000 foreign contract workers and then not support the report that would provide that workforce.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 9:05

No it's about control and power.

You said: It is about money, about jobs. And the federal government has been doing everything it can, intentionally or unintentionally, to sabotage the CNMI economy. Garment shut-down, minimum wage increase, investor/labor controls, no military build-up here, etc.

That you would actually suggest that the federal government would attempt to sabotage the CNMI government shows that you, like the Fitial Administration, want to paint the CNMI as a victim. It is not a victim in this issue. The federal government did no such thing!

You said: BTW, Wendy expresses surprise that Fitial does not kowtow to her buddy Tony Babauta.

Surprise, surprise! The CNMI does not work for Interior. Nor does the Governor. Interior is supposed to be helping us, serving us.

I did not express surprise or say any of the garbage that you claim I did. I think Fitial's reaction is entirely consistent with his pattern of smoke screens, devious tricks, failure to accept responsibility for his lack of action or his actions, and denial. He even refused to meet with Mr. Babauta! He had two years to express his opinion and the only one I recall is that he publicly said he would not oppose green cards if DOI recommended that status. HE (not me) claimed to be surprised by the very predictable report. Get it right. If you don't think the DOI has been and is helping the CNMI, please take the time to review the many grants worth hundreds of millions of dollars that they have awarded to the CNMI.

You said:
Wendy claims we had "opportunities" for input? No Ma'am! Not when Tony Babauta doesn't even let us have access to the arguments or proposals to be made.

It is almost as if he is trying to take personal revenge on the CNMI for their service as Japanese subjects during World War II.


That is a completely asinine and outrageous statement! If there is no argument say anything and hope someone will buy it, right? Guess again!

I had no access to any argument or proposals, but I am intelligent enough to have listened at hearings, taken the time to discuss this issue with officials and push for status through petitions, letters, emails and reports. Get real! You have no argument!

You said" No CNMI genocide! Correct. There is no CNMI genocide. it is a slap in the face to the true victims of genocide to suggest that there is genocide in the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

Noni 9:05,

You are such an idiot. I don't know why I am even stooping to your level and wasting my time responding.

You stated: "The alien brain drain is a perfect example. The skilled, industrious, and trained will run off to Guam and the mainland, while the CNMI will be left with the shiftless, the scammers, and the lazy."

Are you that mentally impaired? Alien Brain Drain? Is that your major concern? You, who tauts "CNMI Genocide"? You? Here's one for you, big shot, how about the US CITIZEN BRAIN DRAIN that has occurred in the CNMI since BEN FITIAL passed the law that allowed the CNMI to open up the flood gates to over 300,000 guest workers to come through the CNMI in the last 20 years? You had no friggen problem with that did you, tao tao tanu? You sat idly by with your tongue tied and watched that occur here for the last 20+years, didn't you smarty? You never threw a tantrum (like you are throwing now) when BEN FITIAL failed to consult with us locals before he began bringing in thousands of low-paid alien workers and treating them like slaves on our CNMI soil. Matter of fact, YOU PRAISED him by electing him time and time again!

As he brought low cost alien labor you continued to sit by on your butt and watch as local US Citizens were replaced by low-cost workers. This resulted in a massive US CITIZEN Brain Drain which in the end left us here in the CNMI with many US CITIZEN locals that match your prediction of what aliens would be left if they too had the power to jump ship and head to the mainland.

Over the last 20+ years it was OK, in your twisted and demented mind, for all CNMI US Citizens that were skilled, industrious, and trained to run off to Guam and the mainland, while the CNMI was left with the shiftless, the scammers, and the lazy. It was OK to you because that is what you are. You are a shiftless, lazy scammer that has been screwing the low-cost workers for years. You now are fearful that your game is up!

Get used to it sucker!

Anonymous said...

noni 9:05:

You said "Surprise, surprise! The CNMI does not work for Interior. Nor does the Governor. Interior is supposed to be helping us, serving us."

Guess what? Surprise, surprise! The Governor works for ME the tax payer and for all other taxpayers! HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING US!

Tell him to get with the program or we will get him out!

Anonymous said...

Noni 9:05:

Are you sane? Do you have trouble reading or comprehending things? Should I be gentle with you?

You said, "So they issue a report to Congress without even giving us an advance copy to comment on and to include those comments in the report itself? How one-sided and biased!"

The report that DOI issued to Congress was heralded by the CRNA! It was stipulated and set forth in writing in the CRNA. They were REQUIRED to submit that report to CONGRESS (not the CNMI governor) on or before May 10, 2010! They held hearings. They recieved comments. They conducted surveys. They have public officials that received correspondence from everyone.

They did it a few days prior! What a great job!

If the governor and people like you claim that their was no notice and they had no input, then it is because they are "shiftless, the scammers, and the lazy.". Thats right using your own logic they must be. Because they are still here in the CNMI even though they have the legal right to leave to the mainland or to guam.

Let's talk about "no notice" and "no consultation" and "no advanced warning" why don't we?

Your governor engaged (IMHO illegally) with Jenner & Block nearly 2 years ago. He sued the Feds and used mine and your name (THE CNMI vs). He has paid them more than $3 million and continues to do so till this day.

Guess what, smarty? HE DID THAT ALL WITHOUT EVER CONSULTING US! Hell, he hid it from us. He still does. He didn't even consult with his constitutionally appointed legal arm, the AGO. He hid it from them too! He NEVER consulted with anyone except a handful of his cronies!

Where is your outrage? Where are the yellow flags? Where is your temper tantrum.

Take your BS and post it elsewhere.

Captain said...

In regards to ALL contract workers leaving by 2014, the option is that at the request of the Gov. (whom ever it may be at the time) The Gov may request another 5 year extension for a foreign workforce to be utilized.
At present there is no set number of 5 year extension requests.
As long as the NMI can justify the workers it can be allowed. (unless this is modified later)

This "good ole boy's network" is collapsing and just grasping at straws as they do not want to be voted out of office by "new citizens" and lose their "gravy train".

This same scenario, granting citizenship to foreign workers has been done in Hawaii and Virgin Islands.
In Hawaii, from prior to statehood, there have been many small business run, owned and operated by various contract workers families at that time.
Many of these business are still in operation today and has been handed down from generation to generation. The "mom and Pop operations"

I sure hope that congress settles this thing long before our next election so if the case may be, US passports for all, then many "new" candidates can be recruited and have time to position themselves to run for office to serve the people instead of themselves.

This is going to be a very interesting next couple of years as these self serving "recycled misfits" are squirming already as they lose their grasp on "control". LOL Too good.

Tina for Governor! said...

Green cards for all!

Glen Hunter for Delegate! said...

Down with hypocrites married to aliens but opposed to giving status to their spouses' former fellow citizens!

Even if he doesn't win a seat in Congress, Glen would split the vote, helping Kilili to get re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Delegate? Why stop there.

Glen should be president! And boot all you un-Americans that believe in slavery and racist tendencies out of here!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Glen should negotiate a new Covenant to make us part of North Korea, an untapped tourist market.

Then he can become the Dearest Leader.

His opponents need to be sent to re-education camps until they come to fully understand that they are secretly motivated by racism and an affinity to slavery, no matter how tolerant they think they are or who they live, work, play, and pray with.

I forgot. Religion is the opiate of the masses. Maybe I need to go to Camp-at-the-Hyatt, too.