Indigenous People to Hold Rally

May 21, 2010

The Saipan Tribune reported that the indigenous people will be holding a rally to object to the Department of Interior report. Some of the offensive remarks that were quoted in the Saipan Tribune concerning the upcoming rally could actually help the guest workers to get the understanding and sympathy of the federal government.

Take, for instance, these comments by Ignacio DLG. Demapan, who was sworn in as resident executive director of the Office of Indigenous Affairs yesterday:
Demapan also said guest workers should not be allowed to dictate the future of the CNMI.

“For example, a guest worker who came in as a taxi driver, a guest worker who came in as a strip dancer, a guest worker who came in as a construction worker, now we're going to allow these people to dictate the future of the indigenous people of the Commonwealth? I don't think its right. I don't think it's proper. I think what we should do is have status quo, because they came in under an employment contract,” he added.

Demapan also said guest workers are exactly that-“guests.”
The guest workers are not dictating the future of the CNMI. The protesting indigenous people are the ones who decided the fate of the CNMI when they voted in a plebiscite to become part of the U.S. family and to be ruled by federal law. Federal law dictates that after 5 years of living and working legally on U.S. soil a person can petition for a green card. The DOI report stated:
"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 CNRA was intended to align the CNMI immigration and labor laws with those of the United States. That alignment includes applying U.S. naturalization law and a pathway to citizenship for people who work and live in the United States for 5 or more years. To those wondering why there was no breakdown in the DOI report of how long foreign workers have stayed in the CNMi years after 5 years it is because under U.S. law five years is the determinator for status --not 8 or 10 or any other number.

Mr. Demapan insinuates that the 'taxi driver', 'strip dancer' and 'construction worker' are not to be respected or valued. These people did not just row over to the Mariana islands. They were recruited and entered legally. They are in the CNMI because the indigenous people wanted them there to serve them and to fill positions that the indigenous people could not fill. The truth is that Mr. Demapan and others only want the foreign workers to remain in the CNMI if they are to be disenfranchised.

Mr Demapan complains that guests are invited for a specific period of time and the guest workers should leave when their contracts are up. The foreign workers were renewed year after year after year making them permanent residents without social and political rights in conflict with American ideals.

Another organizer also does not appear to understand that the foreign workers were continually renewed:
Diego Blanco, who is also one of the organizers for the rally, pointed out that he and the rest of the organizers do not have ill-feelings toward foreign workers, whom they said have helped build the CNMI economy.

“I want to emphasize that I have nothing against guest workers. We appreciate their contributions to the economy,” said Blanco, who is also a member of the Commonwealth Zoning Board and the business development manager for GPPC Inc.

'We don't want to be minority.'

...He said guest workers who came to work in the CNMI under an employment contract should go home once that contract expires.
News flash! When the CNMI government and indigenous people allowed thousands of foreign workers to enter the CNMI and stay in the CNMI for years and even decades they were responsible for making themselves a minority. The indigenous people are a minority whether or not the foreign workers get status. What Blanco and Demapan imply is that the indigenous people will accept being a minority as long as they are the masters over their slaves. As long as they can control the workforce, cheat the workforce, fail to enforce laws, and keep the majority of the population oppressed.

Why did CNMI law allow for the employers to continually renew the foreign workers' contracts if the indigenous people and voters did not want the foreign workers to remain in the islands? The truth is that the foreign workers were and are needed and should be respected and treated as equals and not as replaceable commodities.

The article also states that the indigenous people have an online petition with over 800 signatures. The on-line and hand written signatures on the petition that I delivered to Washington, DC in February 2010 had over 7,000 signatures of nonresidents and residents supporting a direct pathway to citizenship for the foreign workers and other categories of nonresidents. Many who signed were indigenous people.

The indigenous people can reject the idea of status for long-term foreign workers and watch as most of the skilled and dedicated foreign workers exit of the private sector killing the already suffering economy. Or they can accept that federal laws apply in the CNMI and welcome the long-term foreign workers as equals. If the CNMI leaders and people don't want to see the foreign workforce leave by 2014, they must accept that it is time for the disenfranchised indentured servants to be given U.S. status.

Angelo Villagomez wrote an excellent letter to the editor yesterday that highlighted a letter written in 1998 by his father father, Ramon Garrido Villagomez. The letter outlines nine promises that the CNMI government made to the United States in 1998 claiming to reform the abusive and corrupt CNMI labor and immigration system.

From Angelo's father's letter:
These include: (1) putting a moratorium on the hiring of guest workers, (2) capping the number of guest workers in the garment industry and the size of that industry, (3) weeding out corruption in the labor and immigration offices, (4) prosecuting employers and closing down businesses who abuse guest workers, (5) prohibiting the number of guest workers from exceeding the number of U.S. citizens in the CNMI, (6) allowing guest workers to transfer from one occupation to another and from one employer to another, (7) allowing illegal aliens to become legal under the amnesty law, (8) expediting the deportation of illegal aliens, and (9) limiting the number of years that a guest worker may stay in the CNMI.
Angelo pointed out correctly that every one of those 'reform measures' was broken.

The letter that Ramon Villagomez wrote reminded readers of a warning that President Clinton sent to the CNMI in 1997. The letter addressed to Governor Tenorio stated that the federal government would apply federal law to CNMI because of the lack of reform. I received a copy of that letter, which included this passage:
I am writing now out of concern about, certain labor practices in the islands that are inconsistent with our country's values. More than half of the people in the islands are temporary alien workers; these workers, who comprise an overwhelming majority of the islands' work force, are imported to fill permanent jobs, while the jobless rate among residents remains high; the minimum wage is plainly inadequate; there have been persistent incidents of improper treatment of alien workers and inadequate enforcement of their rights; and manufacturers using foreign workers unfairly compete with other production under the U.S. flag.
Federal officials have, for many year's, strongly encouraged Commonwealth officials to rectify these problems and have provided substantial assistance for doing so, but the problems persist and, in some cases, are getting worse. I have, therefore, concluded that federal immigration, naturalization, and minimum wage laws should
now be applied to the Commonwealth, as provided by the Covenant.
My Administration will work with the Congress to extend these laws in a reasonable and appropriate manner. We will, of course, consult with you and other representatives of the Commonwealth about how these laws should be applied.
Finally, as President Clinton promised, federal immigration and minimum wage law has been applied to the CNMI. The time to apply federal naturalization law to the CNMI is long overdue.

Angelo, an indigenous Chamorro, is offering his support to see this realized also. From his letter:
The contract workers who have lived on Saipan more than five years have earned the right to petition for United States citizenship. I stand by my father's words and offer my support in helping the long toiling contract workers become the newest members of the American family.
Please take the time to read Angelo's entire letter here.

Another letter writer, written by Segundo Castro of the Saipan Tinian Student Association, expressed thanks DOI Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta for the DOI Report. He stated:
The contract workers in the CNMI contributed to our economic growth for years. In accordance with the United States immigration regulations and guidelines, most of these individuals are qualified to become United States citizens. Let us support them to become United States citizens as a token of appreciation on our part. Mr. Tony Babauta is a godsend to the CNMI, because he would be the instrument to make it happen. Si Yu'us Ma'ase siƱot Tony Babauta.
The foreign contract workers are not dictating what the U.S. Congress will decide as some allege. They are appealing for justice. Freedom of speech is one of the few rights that they possess.

Keep speaking! Do not be intimidated and do not let anyone silence you. Such actions as an employer telling you that you may not participate in an event or warning you not to sign a petition are illegal and you can report any such incidences to the federal ombudsman and the U.S. Department of Labor.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

A couple of things.

First, Angelo is not an indigenous Chamorro. He is half white and like most supporters of contract workers can't speak fluent Chamorro. Same with Tina Sablan, Glen Hunter and Tony Babauta.

Second, the Honorable Judge Villagomez used to beat the crap out of his wife.

You don't know everything Wendy. Educate yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes we are guests in your home for a decade, or more than a score already. You entrusted us on almost everything in your house, from serving, repairing, entertaining, financial reporting and care taking. We did not fail you. We received salaries with less value now as compared before. Don't tell us that we send all the money we earned. More than half of it goes back to the economy by way of rent, basic necessities, medical expenses [no insurance coverage] etc. We are not status hungry people, we just want to share the blessings you are getting from Uncle Sam. Do not be stingy my friends. Peace to all!

Anonymous said...

"so when i come to your house,and spend some time in there,does that give me authority to dictate which room im going to stay in or how long i'm going to stay in your house? OMG!!NOBODY DICTATE THAT!!10,15,20 YRS OF SERVING!!still no room!!?dont wory, pretty soon there will be no more who will come to you,and serve!you will do your own!be prepare to do ALL!!mechanics,carpenters,house workers,bakers,hair dresser,technicians,nurses,construction workers,cook,accountants,strip dancers and much much more!!

Anonymous said...

7:37 First wendy is more educated than you and has way more class. She is not attacking people but she talking about ideas. So is Obama a African American? There are Chamorro rights activists who call themselves indiginous who are half Chamorro on Guam and in the CNMI. It's the message. Great message Angelo. great report Tony. we don't care your background. You speak for every people in CNMI. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

7:37 forgot something. Some Americans speak Chamorro and some Filipinos do. Some Chamorros do not speak Chamorro. What does that prove. now you gonna give a test to see how chamorro a person is.

Anonymous said...

Noni 7:37

It doesn't matter if the local population is Chamorro, Chinese, African or blue people. They voted to become part of the USA. That means they have federal law. So get the hell over yourself and accept it. Or maybe you and Stanley can have another vote and take the US flag down. Go back to your fishing and farms and stop asking USA for dollars. What ungrateful attitudes. Who is not educated?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows Ike knows he's a numbskull. He doesn't realize that local leaders made indigenous the minority over 20 years ago. Chamorros and Carolinians are the minority and have been for nearly 20some years.

Batang Makati said...

You have to face reality, CNMI cannot survive without outside help. From utilizing foreign workforce to assistance of federal funds, CNMI is so much dependent from outside aid.That is when the term "hypocrisy" comes into use.

Anonymous said...

Comments about the behavior of Mr. Villagomez may or may not be true, but do not belong in the debate anymore than comments about the size of Joe Camacho belong in the debate.

Anonymous said...

The woman affair petition on line reads like a who's who of labor abusers. It's ridiculous that the indigenous people who are loud and fighting any rights for aliens are the corrupt ones, the labor abusers, the people who owe back pay to workers. The quiet ones are the ones who look at the aliens as their friends and neighbors and have brotherly and sisterly love. The vocal ones are the ones who want the status quo for their own greedy reasons.

Captain said...

The people are going to hold a rally. It is too bad that these "locals" do not hold a rally against the Gov and his "clowns" to let them know they are not satisfied with how things are being run.
But again they can't as about 5k are employed by the Govt. and there would be retaliation by job loss and other things.
This rally will be interesting. The Govt workers have already been ordered to show up at the meetings. I wonder how many will be at the rally because they were "ordered" to go or else?
It will be interesting to see the ones that go.
I do not understand why they do not have a motorcade.
I would like to see how much beer and barbecue will be at the site.
No beer or barbecue few will show. The Govt. will foot the bill.
Will the Govt also pay the Govt employees that day for showing up?
Lets see.

Anonymous said...

7:37,you dont know what are talking about!you are the one who should educate!!!when you are full of love and care to people,you dont have to be educated!!Wendy is a real american..she cares!!

Wendy said...

Anonymous 6:15 I couldn't agree more! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with locals holding a rally? Unless there is free food and beer, I doubt it will be successful.

I think most young locals stuck on the island (unskilled) are resentful of non-resident workers. Employers renewed contracts before their expiration (due to federalization) and refused to consider locals. If a renewal was early and the employer found a qualified local, in theory they would have to hire the local and continue paying the non-resident their salary. Employers responded with postings requiring 10 years experience for jobs such as a florist. It was the CNMI DOL's fault for allowing it to happen, but it was common.

I wonder if the U.S. citizen children of guest workers can contribute to the campaigns of delegates, or to lobbyists for improved status. Joe Camacho will spend 250K for his campaign and will probably win. $5 a piece from all guest workers through their U.S. citizen children might be enough for 2000 votes and a delegate of their choice.

Anonymous said...

All foreign workers:
Look at the petition site below: www.petitiononline.com/4NMI/petition.html; if you see persons you know who own business(es) DO NOT patronize, show them that without you as patrons, they will not survive. They're not supporting us then don't support them too... keep on monitoring and study carefully, I am sure you knew these people.

Anonymous said...

7:27 please can you give us a list of the names and matched to business . Also i see lots of LABOR ABUSERS. Some owe over $100,000 to their employees. Everyone who is owed money by these cheaters should write a letter to the congressional committees and tell them that they want to keep cheating us and don't want us to have rights. We also need to publicize the crooks to the papers and business owners so we can BOYCOTT NOW. You don't want us to have rights then don't ask us to support your business. thank you 7:27

Captain said...

Some food for thought.
From the beginning of this comment, I am not down grading or demeaning any particular job classification, or putting it as a non essential job, especially when no non-US will do the job for the wage, or because of the type of job.

Under the work "Visa" requirements under the Feds.
Certain jobs classifications are not allowed, or are seasonal etc.
What are the non-essential jobs?
What are the Highly skilled jobs?
What are the skilled jobs?

The move to grant all (legal) contract workers US Citizenship that has been here that have worked over five years is a minimum requirement under the present US Immigration law.

It was followed in Hawaii years ago in regards to all of their "imported" workers from around the world.
The majority of the jobs were not "skilled".
The number of workers needed was immense because of the expanding agriculture and it's related job requirements.

Now if congress does not act on this current "proposal" to grant the contract workers any type of "status" before 2011, then the workers will fall under the "visa" entry system.
Assuming the employers will have to apply for the appropriate visa, this will eliminate a majority the current contracts workers.
The house workers for sure,Cashiers, waitress, sales clerk, water deliveries, truck drivers, on island tour escorts (land and marine)maintenance,bar tenders, hotel maids,construction laborers,etc.
It may even eliminate equipment operators, crew boat crew and possibility, the engineers.
This can go on and on.

Look at the "visa's" that are allowed and the qualifications required.
Even if the Gov at the time requests for another 5 year extension to allow for workers to come to the NMI to work, they will have to qualify for the appropriate visa.

It seems anyway around, the NMI is "shooting itself in the foot" again by blocking any status for these workers
They will not have the non-skilled workers no matter what happens (short of some kind of status for the present workers)

The minimum wages have to increase, the actual wages for "skilled" workers also have to fall in place in regards to a "livable" wage for the "local" (any worker).
It is impossible to support a "couple" on the minimum wage with both working, let alone with children etc.
If "Obama Care" is made mandatory for the NMI (and Guam)it will be unaffordable for the NMI people to pay for the insurance coverage and also the "fine" that ensues for non compliance.

The local economy will be even worse. (if this can be imagined)

Anyway this is only the tip of the "problem" and without the Feds having anything in place at the moment, and if they fall back on the work visa system which is in place now under the Feds, this is what I am looking at in a business future in the NMI.

I would like some feedback on this and thoughts, along with what other can perceive from this present situation if left unaddressed by the Feds and a lack of some kind of status for the present workers.
I am in transit and may be missing some points in this present situation.

Good luck on this upcoming "local" rally. I would also suggest that you guys make your voice heard for increased wages in the "private" sector as this govt cannot continue under the present employment "load" and it is only a matter of time before the layoffs begin.
Think about your family and how you will be able to support them if you are one of the unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

I will ask outright at businesses to the owner if they support status. If no, adios. Let them see we are needed now. Not just for our skills and hard work but to keep the business open.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that (without actual counting) it looks like about half of these "signatures" are from off island.
Many from on island I recognize are little children or minors.
I wonder how many of these adult people are actually registered voters.
But the majority of the names are "connected" families that have the most to lose by losing their workers.
Will have to do a more detail breakdown when time permits.
This will give the people in Wash. a "chuckle" to see how many people that have to work of island to survive and do not care to try and come home to help their "island" survive and vote in "real" leaders.
All have abandon their "land" but wat to keep the "indentured servants" so their family here can continue to live their lavish lifestyle at others expense.

Anonymous said...

DHS attempted to create a CW visa classification (blocked by CNMI lawsuit) which used in conjunction with H1 and H2 visas should cover the majority of workers.

house workers -- No visa
Cashiers/Sales Clerk -- H2 seasonal, J1 work study, CW
Waitress -- H2 seasonal, J1 work study, possible CW
Truck drivers -- H2 seasonal, CW Tour escorts -- H2 seasonal (land Bartenders -- H2 seasonal, CW Hotel Maids -- H2 seasonal Construction -- H2 seasonal, CW
Engineers -- H1B

The problem with the H-visa classifications is that they include prevailing wages, and H-visa dependant employers(over 50%)have to show increased documentation of recruitment efforts to show that no U.S. workers are available. I agree with the Captain, that min wages will have to increase and skilled workers will have to be paid a fair wage. Isn't that what should happen?

Anonymous said...

There are very few people on Saipan, if any, who lead a “lavish lifestyle.”

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:26, Except, Gov, (and his "clowns), elected,high paid Dept heads, "connected" and private sector business owners. Agreed the "common" working people cannot afford to. Look at the last names on the "petition" and see where many fit in.

Anonymous said...

No CNMI department head is earning a “lavish” salary. Don't stoke the politics of envy.

Pam said...

Hope they pick up their litter this time!

Anonymous said...

We have 10k unemployed people here, so if the US grants citizenship, everyone earns prevailing wages, most new citizens bring relatives to the CNMI,who will actually employ the thousands of new citizens, who wil pay the prevailing wages, and how can the new residets survive?

Anonymous said...

"how can the new reside(n)ts survive?"

Go work! how! if you don't know anything of a modern job these days! go for the old ways... fishing!, plant veges and anything to eat!!

My gosh! you are asking how you can survive!!!

remove food stamp and they will learn how to survive!

Anonymous said...

If 10K unemployed were granted citizenship the current government wage trap would immediately end. Prevailing wage laws only apply to importing cheap workers from abroad, and prevailing wages will not be necessary because many new citizen workers will leave the CNMI for Guam and the U.S. mainland and employers will automatically have to start paying higher wages. Government jobs would be replaced by merit, and so would businesses involved in goverment and federal contracts. Article 12 would end and mortgages could be obtained. Within months approximately 1 Billion of mortgage related "reserve banking" money would be created and the construction, hardware, furniture industry would flourish. New jobs would be created in titling, real estate agents, construction, hardware, furniture sales, appraisers, lawn care. With higher wages (which will happen automatically due to min wage law) more people will recycle money in the community and the CNMI would prosper. The community would have a base of taxes from real estate that would improve the infrastructure and water supply and tourist industry will reach peaks not seen since late 80s.

Anonymous said...

Maybe.

A decision like this by Congress should use studies from real economists, not blog commenters.

Unlike last time, when the minimum wage increase and U.S. immigration control were enacted without any prior economic analysis whatsoever by the Government Accountability Office or anyone else in Congress.

Congress definitely should not rush this status issue.

A good compromise might be Lawful Permanent Residence for those who have been legally in the CNMI for 18 years or more.

Will the Department of the Interior release the numbers of foreign nationals in the CNMI based on how long they have been here (not just "over 5 years")?

By the way, a lot of non-NMDs favor Article XII because it keeps rent and the cost of living lower than they otherwise would be.

the teacher said...

Noni above is correct on this comment below:

"By the way, a lot of non-NMDs favor Article XII because it keeps rent and the cost of living lower than they otherwise would be."

Many NMD's and CGW's agree on this for the same reason, or to quote a defender of Article 12 from my student survey, "if Article 12 ends property values will rise, and if that happens rents will rise, so if rents go to 2k a month like Guam and Hawaii, we will be forced to move".

I on the other hand, would love to see rents 2k and upward and perhaps see housing represent the natural beauty here. If that were ever the case in our lifetimes, wealthy persons wouldn't spend a million bucks a month to stay on Sanabel Island or 10k a night to visit other less attractive lands.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 9:26

This is a joke, right? Rushed? Are you serious? The CNMI government had two years to voice its opinion on the status question. Two years! I was in DC 7 times, writing reports, pushing petitions for status, collecting letters, and on and on. Where was the CNMI government? What were the leaders doing? PLEASE! Stop the lie!

Real economists? Do you mean like McPhee and Conway, the CNMI loyalists that will support the CNMI agenda? (By the way, this blogger has a degree in business administration and taught economics.)

A good compromise would be those who have been in the CNMI 18 years or more? Are you smoking something? One intent of the CNRA was to bring the CNMI into conformity with U.S. law. Where on U.S. soil does ANYONE have to wait 18 years for a green card? Where? A U.S. mainlander can show up in the CNMI and vote in 90 days and a foreign workers who has given their blood, sweat and tears to the islands should wait 18 years? What a truly poor suggestion.

Why would the DOI release how many foreign workers have resided in the CNMI over 5 years? Five years is the cut-off point to qualify for U.S. status. This is federal law we are talking about, not some made up "Let's keep sticking it to the disenfranchised workers" CNMI law.

Every time the CNMI leaders and their supporters don't like a report they a) call for another one, b) propose that they or their friends make their own (LOL) c) whine, whine, whine d) blame, blame blame e) all of the above. The answer is e.

Anonymous said...

A lot of locals favor not giving status because they like a live-in foreign maid at $300 a month. If status is given then who will watch after my parents is the excuse.

I have also heard the article 12 argument before about property values. There are problems with that logic. We are not comparing apples to apples. There are apartments in Guam for $400 a month that are actually nicer than some of the $250 apartments in the CNMI that I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:26 said...

A decision like this by Congress should use studies from real economists, not blog commenters.

Unlike last time, when the minimum wage increase and U.S. immigration control were enacted without any prior economic analysis whatsoever by the Government Accountability Office or anyone else in Congress.

Congress definitely should not rush this status issue.


Wendy said...

Anonymous 9:26

This is a joke, right? Rushed? Are you serious? The CNMI government had two years to voice its opinion on the status question. Two years! I was in DC 7 times, writing reports, pushing petitions for status, collecting letters, and on and on. Where was the CNMI government? What were the leaders doing? PLEASE! Stop the lie!


Well, that wasn't enough time for the feds to do their job properly. We still don't have the DHS guest worker regs yet, so Congress can't evaluate a status change in the context of the five-year Transition Program enacted by Public Law 110-229. That delay is not the CNMI's fault.

And we still don't have a GAO economic report, as required by Public Law 110-229. The GAO admitted as much in their April report, saying that they will do another report on the economics of the situation later. That delay is not the CNMI's fault, either.

So whether we call the status change proposal "rushed" in light of the federal agencies' accomplishments in implementing Public Law 110-229, or simply point out that they have been tardy in following the mandates of the law, the fact remains that any status change is premature.

That is no joke.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:26 said...

A decision like this by Congress should use studies from real economists, not blog commenters.

Unlike last time, when the minimum wage increase and U.S. immigration control were enacted without any prior economic analysis whatsoever by the Government Accountability Office or anyone else in Congress.

Congress definitely should not rush this status issue.


Wendy said...

Real economists? Do you mean like McPhee and Conway, the CNMI loyalists that will support the CNMI agenda? (By the way, this blogger has a degree in business administration and taught economics.)

No, I'd prefer a Government Accountability Office economic study, thank you. As recently as April they have promised to do one.

As required by Public Law 110-229, that will give Congress a realistic basis for determining whether to grant status and to whom.

Wendy said...

A good compromise would be those who have been in the CNMI 18 years or more? Are you smoking something? One intent of the CNRA was to bring the CNMI into conformity with U.S. law. Where on U.S. soil does ANYONE have to wait 18 years for a green card? Where? A U.S. mainlander can show up in the CNMI and vote in 90 days and a foreign workers who has given their blood, sweat and tears to the islands should wait 18 years? What a truly poor suggestion.

Nowhere else in the U.S. does non-immigrant time get credit for Lawful Permanent Residence purposes. I do admit to some use of hyperbole for discussion purposes in picking the 18 year mark, given that Interior is hiding the data on who would be affected.

Yet there is some strong merit to 18 years. At 21 years after children are born in the U.S., parents can be petitioned by those citizens. But what about those hard-working people who did not have children here? This is a first step at equity, admittedly not as generous as you would seek.

Rome was not built in a day, and the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.

Wendy said...

Why would the DOI release how many foreign workers have resided in the CNMI over 5 years? Five years is the cut-off point to qualify for U.S. status. This is federal law we are talking about, not some made up "Let's keep sticking it to the disenfranchised workers" CNMI law.

This is where I have to laugh and ask if you are joking. Interior is playing "hide the ball" or "hide the data" from the Congress of the United States. After all your quite valid criticism of CNMI Labor for hiding their own data and not sharing with federal agencies, you want to turn a blind eye and give a pass to Interior for not being more forthcoming with Congress?

Here's what's wrong with Interior withholding data, even though lumping everyone with over five years is enough to support their proposal -- Interior is usurping the decision-making authority of Congress!

Give Congress the numbers, and let Congress decide what is the proper "magic number," whether 3 years, 5 years, 8 years, 10 years ("Dekada"), 12 years, 15 years, 18 years, or any other number. I have relatives who will benefit under most of these scenarios.

Interior hiding data is flat-out wrong. Copying CNMI Labor-style rationalizations does not make it right.

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:19 The CNMI is also responsible for the delay by filing the federal lawsuit which resulted in a court injunction on the regulations.