100 People Oppose DOI Report

July 25, 2010

About 100 Carolinians and their supporters gathered at the Susupe Civic Center to show opposition to the DOI Report. The gathering was sponsored by the cash-strapped CNMI government.

The gathering represented less than 1% of the total CNMI indigenous population, and certainly was not a consensus.  Just like the Senate-sponsored public hearings that were created to show that the CNMI residents are not supporting the DOI Report, this gathering also fell flat.  In contrast about 5,000 foreign contract workers rallied to show support for the DOI Report earlier this year.

Some of the statements quoted in the papers show the ignorance of elected officials and candidates.  The same lies were repeated yet again.  The most disingenuous one is that the CNMI was not "consulted" regarding their views before the DOI report was released.  There were numerous meetings that CNMI officials had with DOI officials from the time that the law was passed until the time that the report was written.  I outlined the CNMI-DOI meetings in previous posts, Status for Foreign Contract Workers and The Lie.

Covenant Candidate Joseph Camacho repeated the lie, as quoted by the Saipan Tribune:

Camacho echoed Fitial's opposition to the Interior report, saying it violated the federalization law. Because of the lack of consultation, the Interior report bore a “one-sided recommendation.”
Governor Fitial, who authored the lie, also repeated it falsely stating once again that the CNMI was not consulted.  Do these politicians think that the DOI and federal officials have no memory?  Was a DOI recommendation supposed to reflect what CNMI politicians want, or reflect the best steps for the U.S. as a nation with uniform immigration laws?

Republican candidate Juan Babauta also appeared at the gathering to garner votes for his bid for the U.S. House non-voting representative seat. According to the Marianas Variety, he mentioned that the policy need the full support of the people. Obviously, the amazingly low turnout at these government-sponsored meetings shows that the majority of the CNMI residents support the DOI Report or don't care one way or the other.

Babauta was quoted by the Saipan Tribune:
“If anybody wants to become a U.S. citizen, they should stand in line for fairness,” he told the crowd.
Of course, if these legal foreign contract workers were on U.S. soil in the mainland rather than living and working on U.S. soil in the CNMI for 5 years or more as most of them have been, they already would have been able to have applied for green cards. Mr. Babauta should be reminded that unless the legal CNMI guest workers are married to a U.S. citizen or their U.S. citizen child reaches the age of 21 and petitions for them most do not at this time generally qualify to apply for a green card. So if there is a line, please show the guest workers where it starts.

As far as fairness, let's see these candidates support the enforcement of DOL judgments, which clearly show that thousands of cheated guest workers are owed millions in back wages and were treated unfairly under a broken CNMI system. Let's be fair and arrest the employers who cheated them or at least enforce the judgments so that the workers get paid.   Since the CNMI government has refused to enforce its own laws and protect the rights of the workers, then at least grant them status so they can move on with their life and have a chance to recoup some of the loss that was the result of the unfair CNMI system. Fairness is not a word I associate with the CNMI.

Babauta also used the "false hope"card saying "But now, he said, Interior’s recommendation to the U.S. Congress is creating false hope among guest workers. He said those who seek improved status should follow the existing U.S. immigration law."

I agree with what President Obama said  - that is that there is no such thing as false hope. He said, "In the United States of America, there has never been anything false about hope...In America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it. Because hope is not blind optimism."

His words are true. There is nothing false about hope. The CNMI leaders would like the guest workers who are reaching for it, fighting for it, and working for it to stop their quest. They would like the guest workers to believe they have no hope for status because their own personal hope is that they will never achieve permanent status.

Status is a valid and reasonable request for anyone who has lived and worked on U.S. soil for 5 or more years. A path to citizenship for hardworking guest workers is promoted because it is an absolutely essential element of any moral, just and democratic guest worker program.

The DOI Report was mandated in a provision within the CNRA.  The CNMI politicians who want to retain status quo oppose the report because their evil system of maintaining a disenfranchised underclass with no political or social rights would end.

Those in attendance at the political rally were mostly Covenant Party supporter, as was reported by the Saipan Tribune:
Besides Fitial, Camacho, and Babauta, the others who spoke at the Carolinian assembly included Indigenous Affairs Office resident executive director Ignacio Demapan, Carolinian Affairs executive assistant Angie Iginoef-Mangarero, Vice Speaker Felicidad Ogumoro (Cov-Saipan), former Speaker Oscar Rasa, Deputy Labor Secretary Cinta M. Kaipat, Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Melvin Faisao, and Leon I. Taisacan.

Other lawmakers present at the gathering were Rep. Rafael Demapan (Cov-Saipan) and Rep. Stanley Torres (Ind-Saipan), who earlier said that the Interior report will destroy the CNMI.
It's interesting that the CNMI government funded the protest-political rally.  This is the same government that is calling for austerity Fridays and is deep in debt. A previous article stated that it was being sponsored by the Carolinian Affairs Office and Office of Indigenous Affairs, both government offices under the Governor's Office.  The Saipan Tribune stated:
"The gathering also served as a campaign event for two delegate candidates with Carolinian blood-former Gov. Juan N. Babauta and former House Floor Leader Joseph N. Camacho."
I am not sure if it is even legal for state or territorial governments to finance campaign rallies for national offices, but regardless, I suppose in the CNMI, anything goes...


Anonymous said...

One key individual who attended the meeting was none other than Juan Nekai Babauta, former CNMI Governor and boss to his enforcer & lieutenant - Pamela Brown Blackburn. That's right, the current Ombuds.

This is disturbing and reeks of conflict of interest. The former Governor along with the full power of his AG opposed Federal takeover at every step. He even bragged about it during reelection time.

The Fitial Administration needs to dig up any and all relevant evidence of the former AG's opposition to Federal Immigration control during the Garment days. How much money changed hands? Also while they're at it, dig up the La Fiesta Mall scandal and many others under her watch.


Anonymous said...

Should of given away beer, BBQ and cigarettes. All local people want are full stomachs, a buzz, and a lung full of nicotine. Give them that and they will follow you anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Let's see who would the US Congress listen to? A governor who took his massage girl out of prison for a massage, a group of people who are gvt employees who went to a rally paid for by the CNMI, or the US DIO?

Stop wasting your time losers. You all ready screwed enough people. You still owe the OCWs who are here cash and some justice. Give all legals workers green cards and let them stay if they have a job and leave if they don't. You elected official have reaped enough suffering to last eternity. Now you do the right thing and stop your bitching. Man up.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a political rally can be funded by a local government either. Who knows how much was spent on barbeque, drinks and free cigarettes. But the real thing is the man hours. How many people do these government offices that sponsored this event have on their payroll? How much of their time was spent planning this little political get together? Didn't Santa Angel say we should all sacrifice and give up Fridays and more? What is our governor giving up, or is he just spending? How much did the final tab come to for Jenner and Block or is it still running?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think it odd that two candidates were kissing Fitial's a$$ at this little campaign party?

Anonymous said...

Noni 4:20 Are you really that uninformed? Any US government agency or department does an extensive background check on potential employees. Hillary Rodham Clinton was a major campaigner for Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater. So what? Does that show where she stands now? Pam Brown did nothing that was against federalization or against the US.

Every one who is running for this office has their history. Look at former lt. governor Borja. He was involved in hiring Abramoff to stop federalization. It was his administration that started the race to toss out $12 million. Wouldn't it be nice to have it today? Not to mention his club girl past and his coverup of labor abusers.

Camacho is a Covenant a$$kisser who would just run with the Fitial plan and make the NMI look like fools (if we could look any worse) in the eyes of DC officials. Kilili is a flip flopper. I'm going to sit this one out.

u don't have my vote said...

Borja headlines in MV - Borja wants more US aid

The US should say a big fat NO to pouring more US money into the NMI until the residents pay federal taxes, the money is accounted for and spent on what is supposed to be spent on, the NMI government stops the waste of money, the political appointees who sit on their asses and just collect paychecks are fired, and the NMI looks at local taxes to fund our own government. Does Borja want the NMI to be a welfare state or to grow up and take responsibility? Did he support the lawsuit the governor filed against the US that drained our funds? Borja said he wants to cut from other programs. How about starting with the Carolinian and Indigenous Affairs Offices?

Anonymous said...

BIBA KILILI! He already got us millions in federal money and just got more for the Marianas Trench Visitor Center. He already is respected in Washington. BIBA KILILI!

Anonymous said...

"Of course, if these legal foreign contract workers were on U.S. soil in the mainland rather than living and working on U.S. soil in the CNMI for 5 years or more as most of them have been, they already would have been able to have applied for green cards."

No. Under federal law, non-immigrant status does not accrue to establish lawful permanent residence (LPR). The likelihood is growing stronger by the month that the federal government will emulate the CNMI and establish its own guest worker program that will not lead to LPR, exept by the natural and organic process of U.S.-born children petitioning their parents, which our local contract workers' kids have every right to do.

Our hard-working guest workers should wait in line like everyone else, whether in the CNMI (if you are one of the lucky few to have a job) or back in your home country. Fair is fair.

fair is fair said...

9:51 Fair is fair? Really? Then why did hundreds of employers get away with stealing money from OCWs and the CNMI government did nada? Is that fair? Fair for the government that saved money by not prosecuting cases? For the employer-thieves?

I believe Wendy is correct. In the US, if the foreign workers were legally working for so many consecutive years their employer could petition for them to have a green card. At any rate since most of the foreign workers are victims of criminal activity (nonpayment of wages, illegal deductions and worse) they should all apply for U visas. Look at the mental torture they have suffered at the hands of the employers and NMI government.

If for no other reason they all deserve green cards for their years of loyalty, service and work. Tell me again what the indigenous people of the NMI did to earn their US citizenship? Vote?

Anonymous said...

I am married to a foreign worker for so many years now and my entire extended family supports US citizenship for the legal long-term (over 5 years) workers. My friends who are local agree. Go ahead lets vote and be surprise.

Anonymous said...

Noni 4:20

What conflict of interest? You are so dumb.

Anonymous said...

Stanley can pray for whatever he chooses. I am praying for US citizenship for foreign contract workers.

Anonymous said...

Did Fitial ever say why there was no State of the Commonwealth address?

Anonymous said...

If people really cared they would attend the hearings. They don't care. Why would anyone care about this when the Commonwealth is crumbling around us. This is not a priority.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Fitial saying he would not object to the DOI recommendation for green cards to OCWs?

Captain said...

JFYI, on a different topic, the court barred Oklahoma from enforcing it's own "immigration law" There were two distinct items that they prohibited from being enforced.
I am not familiar what was written in their law.(I caught only half news announcement so my details are sketchy)
Wendy will probably get the whole info.

Anonymous said...

Babauta visited the OCW group not long time ago with his running mate Galvin showing their support to OCW's cause. When some candidates including Fitial won after they're showing their position opposing worker's improve status, Babauta (even Kilili) change their strategy. Do they think people (both voters and foreigners) are idiot? Give these people lesson and to all future politicians... let's see

Anonymous said...

Noni 6:32: That was before the election or re-election. Now the Wolf has shed his sheep's clothing and the rest of the flock are done.