August 3, 2010

The final CNMI Senate hearing concerning status for foreign workers will be held tomorrow:

Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
at the Kagman Community Center

Written comments may be submitted to the office of Senate before or during the public hearing.

Oral testimony may be presented during the public hearing. If you wish to present oral testimony, inform Senator Jude Hofschneider’s office not later than 24 hours prior to the public hearing. For more information call 664-9904, fax 664-8860, or e-mail

I encourage all guest worker groups, faith-based groups, and individual guest workers to make your voices heard! Attend the hearing and bring written testimony. (If you cannot attend the hearing, you can submit the written testimony before August 4, 2010 to Senate Vice President Jude U. Hofschneider at the legislative building on Capital Hill.)

Testimony does not need to be formal. A simple letter with your reasons for supporting status and a pathway to citizenship for long-term foreign workers is sufficient. Be sure to include your full name and address. Keep a copy to send to the U.S. Congressional Committees. (Addresses on the right sidebar.)

The following statement was submitted by the the United Workers Movement:





AUGUST 1, 2010

Dear Chairman Hofschneider and the Members of the Committee,

On behalf of the United Workers Movement, I submit these comments on the subject of long-term status for CNMI guest workers. In May 2010, pursuant to its mandate provided under USPL 110-229, the Department of Interior submitted a report to the United States Congress that 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.”
We, the members of the United Workers Movement, agree with the Department of Interior’s recommendation, and we support long-term status for legal foreign workers that will include a direct pathway to U.S. citizenship. It is time for the long-term foreign workers to be granted U.S. status with a pathway to citizenship with full social and political rights.

In 2009, the United Workers Movement, along with many other organizations and individuals, began circulating a petition to express the views of the CNMI’s foreign workers and their supporters on the subject of long-term status. This petition has been signed by more than 7,000 individuals, including many foreign workers, indigenous residents, and other U.S. citizens. This petition has been submitted to U.S. Congress, and key excerpts from the petition statement are submitted to this committee below:

The petition describes who we are--
“We represent the diversity of people who will be impacted by the implementation of federal immigration law beginning on November 28, 2009, pursuant to Public Law 110-229. We are the foreign contract workers, the CNMI permanent residents, and nonresident spouses. We are the Freely Associated States citizens and their nonresident spouses and family members. We are nonresidents who are married to U.S. citizens, and the widows and widowers of U.S. citizens. We are the U.S. citizen children of nonresidents and the foreign-born children of U.S. citizens and nonresidents. We are the parents of disabled and special needs U.S. citizen children. And we are the residents and U.S. citizens who support the nonresidents in the cause for status…”
The petition describes what we hope for--
“We appeal to you today to support the introduction of legislation that would grant green cards and a pathway to citizenship to long-term foreign workers and nonresidents. The majority of us have been in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for more than five years. Many of us have lived and worked here for 10, 15, even 20 or more years. Hundreds of us have lived and worked in the CNMI for more years than we have lived in our home countries. Some of us came to the CNMI as young adults and now we have children and grandchildren. To all of the nonresidents signing this petition, the CNMI is our beloved home…”
The petition explains why we hope for long-term status--
“We left our homelands with little but hope and dreams for our future and excitement that we were going to work on U.S. soil. We have built quality lives here. Many of us no longer have connections to our former homelands. Many of us have no job prospects, no homes and no support systems in the places that we left so long ago. Many of us have spent sweat, tears, and the best years of our lives building the CNMI, performing our jobs honorably and with distinction. We love the Marianas and the people in our community. We belong to churches and social groups; we volunteer in island wide cleanups and in our children’s schools. Many of us have children who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. We are valuable workers and law-abiding, contributing members of our island home… 
We are legal guest workers who were invited here to build the economy and infrastructure of the Northern Marianas, and who were allowed to stay, year after year, with no prospect for adjusting to permanent residency, let alone a pathway to citizenship. We have a special and urgent situation that was created by a unique and unjust set of CNMI immigration and labor laws.

There is precedent for such relief. In the 1980s, the Virgin Islands and Congress realized that special legislation was needed to prevent the separation of guest workers from their U.S. citizen families. Congress passed a law allowing guest workers in the Virgin Islands to adjust to permanent residency status. Congress should pass a similar law tailored to the unique needs of the CNMI...”
The petition describes our hopes for our children--
“Our children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, stay awake at night anxiously contemplating the fate of their parents and the future of their families. They live in fear of being exiled to foreign countries where they cannot speak the language and where they may face the limited educational opportunities, a poorer quality of healthcare and a deep plunge in their quality of life as a whole.

Our uncertain status does not make our children less American. Our children are the future of this commonwealth as much as any child who calls the CNMI home and they are deserving of the same rights and opportunities as any U.S. citizen. We appeal to you to protect them and ensure that their future is bright...”
The petition concludes:
“The importance of secure families and a skilled, reliable and stable workforce in the CNMI is essential, especially during these times of extreme social and economic hardship. Granting U.S. permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship to the legal CNMI nonresidents would ensure that families would not be split apart, businesses would benefit from a stable labor pool of skilled and reliable workers, and the economy would recover…”
We appeal to the members of this Senate committee, and to all the leaders of the CNMI, to support long-term U.S. status and a pathway to citizenship for CNMI guest workers. We have grown to love the CNMI during the course of our many years in these islands. Our families and friends are here. Our home is here. We have dedicated our lives to building and developing this great commonwealth, and we, too, are your constituents. For the sake of our families, the workforce, and the economic recovery of the CNMI, we ask for your support of our request to U.S. Congress for long-term status and a pathway to citizenship.

Thank you for your consideration, and for the opportunity to submit these comments.


Rabby Syed
UWM President


Captain said...

That is a well written letter. Very impressive and factual.
I hope that this letter is forwarded to DC by Syad, as when he submits this to this "kangaroo court" of incompetence it will be "lost" along with other pro written comments. (and testimony)

I would like to see a copy, posted, of any documents that this elected group's "hearings" sends to DC.

This will truly be interesting.I wonder who will be writing up this "recommendation" and how will it be justified when there has not been anyone from the "indigenous" community show up except the one that were told to by the Govt.

But as it goes, like the rest of the things that this electorate does, it will only be another embarrassment for the NMI showing racism and will further help to push and justify any decision from the Congress in favor of the CW.

Now as in the past, there seems to not be anything that this (or past) admin or elected has undertaken with out "mucking it up".

I can see the US Congress "rolling in the aisles" when any report about these hearings are made public and recommendations by our elected "clowns" is made based upon maybe a total of 12 people over the many weeks of these hearings that will be "taken as the will of the total NMI indigenous".(and voters)
All a big joke!!! Lets see.

Anonymous said...

Captain my Captain! Stand out there and tell these clowns and jokers how it is!

Rabby... that audience in the Senate Committee will be pleasant to you. They'll extend a welcome for 5 minutes. They'll let you speak and smile. When Jude turns to whisper to his other Committee members.. he'll be saying, "Let's keep these people down. They will take over our islands." And then they'll say thank you and "We'll take a look at it," only to put your letter in File 13.

Jude: basta de puleli! Hafa si Liz?

Anonymous said...

did anyone record Woodruff's statement at the hearing. i hear it was against status.

Anonymous said...

he don't speak for the workers. He speaks for Fitial now. he likes workers to take money.

Anonymous said...

Atty.Woodruff never represent guest workers. In the first place, he collected thousands of dollars from the innocent CW with DEKADA. Yet, DEKADA and him never bothered to disclosed any statement about their activities and expenditure.Atty Woodruff is a lawyer not an advocate to any party. He argued based on his client case, this time he might be hired by Semer or Cinta.When the contract worker was paid 100 dollar each, Atty Woodruff represent them and talks about their case. At the Guest Workers Motorcade, Woodruff support DOI recommendation. Suddenly, what motivated him to change his stand?
Sources said, CW rather prefer to go Federal Ombudsman Office instead to Woodruff. Because,now the Alien Workers are the Federal matter.