More on Status

August 2, 2010

Is it legal in the CNMI to use government funds to pay people to lead political debates and rallies?  The cash-strapped CNMI government employed the services of both the Indigenous Affairs Office, and the Office of Carolinian Affairs to sponsor anti-federal and anti-immigrant rallies and events with xenophobic themes.

Last week they sponsored a sparsely attended meeting of Carolinians, which was an indigenous gathering and also a political rally according to organizing officials. Aside from sponsoring rallies, I have no idea what the other responsibilities of these two government offices are.

It seems that federal election campaigns should not be organized and/or paid for by local government offices.  Two candidates who have Carolinian background attended the rally and spoke against the Department of Interior Report repeating the lie that the CNMI was not consulted before the report was written. Secretary Salazar stated in a letter to Governor Fitial, ..."the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs personally consulted with you on this Report before it was submitted for clearance."

Indigenous Affairs Director Ignacio Demapan claimed in yesterday's Marianas Variety that "the local people are not happy that Secretary Ken Salazar would not withdraw the DOI Report."  Really? Demapan took a survey of the "local" people and determined this when?  The article also said that Acting Governor Eloy S. Inos had not even seen the letter, but amazingly Demapan determined that the local people were not happy with its message. How did he determine this?

Demapan was also quoted as saying that "he and the other leaders of the CNMI will continue to fight and protect the right of the indigenous people."  It seems ironic that a person who claims he wants to "protect" indigenous rights disregarded the protection of an endangered indigenous species.  Demapan pleaded guilty to taking the endangered nightengale reed warblers in 2006.

What exactly are these "indigenous rights" that would be lost by granting status to the long term alien workers?  The foreign workers have lived and worked in the CNMI for three decades, and over the years there have been times when many more foreign workers populated the CNMI then do presently.  Have these foreign workers stolen any indigenous rights during the times that they have outnumbered the indigenous people? Are Demapan, Fitial and the others afraid of losing their indigenous rights or do they fear that the CNMI Government's right to maintain supremacy over a disenfranchised underclass will be lost?

Another "indigenous rights" group leader, Greg Cruz of the Taotao Tano wrote a letter to the editor that is, as usual, ridiculous! Addressed to Secretary Ken Salazar he states in part:
Your department and the people in charge should stop disrespecting and treating our people as if we have NO SAY or choice in your political hidden agenda. We will stand and defend our RIGHTS as INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF THE LAND whom your office seeks to be a minority in their own land.

The CNMI is not a STEPPING STONE to one’s self-interest acts. Read between the lines in your response to our local media and you will understand why we disagree. Your prompt response on the matter will be appreciated.
Your prompt response? What on earth could the secretary say except -Huh? Defend your rights and indigenous people of the land?  Is someone planning on invading the CNMI?  Is he talking about the foreign workers who were brought to the CNMI legally under the CNMI's own immigration program? How can granting citizenship or status to people who are already in the CNMI, most who have been there 5 or more years already, make the indigenous people a minority, but they are going to be a minority if the same people are not given status? What kind of math or logic is that?

The CNMI Senate will be giving the U.S. Congress the results of the Senate hearings that have been held in the CNMI over the last few months.  According to Senate President Paul Manglona, the Senate will "write a letter" to the U.S. Congress based on the report from the Senate Committee on Federal Relations and Independent Agencies. Will they report the diverse views of the participants who attended the hearings, as well as the terribly low attendance? The people of the CNMI certainly have not supported the hearings and they cannot be called a good representation or expression of the views of the CNMI's population since less than 1% of the total population has participated in them.

The final public hearing on foreign status will be held on:


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 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 senatorjuhofschneider@yahoo.com.

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.)

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Notice that the Tribune had nothing on Salazar's letter that proved Fitial was a liar?

Anonymous said...

Demapan, Fitial and the CNMI legislators no one gives a damn what you think. The US Congress should give the OCWs status. At least they earned it. What did the people of the CNMI to get their blue passport? NADA!

Anonymous said...

What are indigenous rights? The right not to pay federal taxes but to take federal funds. The right to waste government money on indigenous offices. The right to get paid and not work. The right to lie to federal officials. The right to rig elections and buy votes.

Anonymous said...

noni 6:42 because the Tribune is loyal to Fitial.

Anonymous said...

Tony Babauta likely leaked the letter to his propagandists at the Variety.

The Tribune mentioned no lie because there was no lie. Read the letter of Interior Secretary Salazar again. “Personally consulted with you on this report” is not the same as saying Fitial was shown a draft copy (as the GAO and OIGs do) or that such “consultation” was meaningful.

Sure, Secretary Salazar is going to back up his Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta -- who probably drafted the letter for him based on various style errors and typos (“response to the fifth subjected [sic] required by the CNRA”).

But everyone knows the games Tony is trying to play with us islanders, and how the CNMI is retaliating in kind with what little remaining tools we have left, such as data.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 7:42

Are you serious? First off the letter is public record. (Here it is: letter to Governor Fitial And no, I did not get it from Tony Babauta. ) All you have to do is ask, and you can get reports, letters etc. from the federal officials. That's what I do! Unlike the CNMI that does NOT respect Open Government laws, the federal government does.

THERE ARE NO PROPAGANDISTS at the Variety! It is a newspaper -the letter is NEWS -duh.

You are really angry, aren't you? Poor, poor Fitial lackey with no courage to sign you name!!! It's been quite the bad week for you, hasn't it? Stop the propaganda and bs. It won't fly here!

Games with data? We know who plays games with data -read the GAO report. It's the CNMI DOL and Fitial Administration. But you know that, because you are one of the game players. Too bad, you will lose.

The federal government is not playing games. The CNMI is. The federal government does not "retaliate!" Are you going into a conspiracy theory mode now? GET A GRIP!

Anonymous said...

noni 7:42 Oh yes there is a lie. Fitial and our leaders had two years to consult. What did our elected leaders do? Wait until after the report and whine and pretend it wasn't their fault? STOP THE LIE!

YOU GO WENDY! The only game players are Fitial and the rest!

Anonymous said...

No one lied. They just forgot.

Anonymous said...

Let the games begin!

Anonymous said...

You were speaking of lies?

Wendy, who gave Zaldy Dandan his copy of the Interior letter?

No propagandists indeed! ;)

Wendy said...

Anonymous 9:44

Are you serious? How would I know WHO gave Zaldy the letter? Do I work at the Marianas Variety? No propagandists except for YOU! Ask Zaldy if you want to know. You are obviously very disturbed that the letter was revealed.

Anonymous said...

"Sure, Secretary Salazar is going to back up his Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta -- who probably drafted the letter..." are you saying Fitial, Cinta, Greg C. or Ike write their statements? You are funny and so sadly maladjusted. Sec. Salazar unlike the illustrious or infamous leaders of the CNMI understands the meaning of honor, loyalty, and common sense not only in defending AS Babauta but also in defining "consult." Prehaps you are unfamiliar with how "advice and consult" happens here in the CNMI - when was the last time any appointee of Fitial's was rejected as the clowns that they are?

Anonymous said...

A liar is a liar and Fitial''s pants are on fire so watch out what butt you kiss 7:42 You could get burned bad.

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:03 --

It's "advice and consent," not "advice and consult."

Confusion between "consulting" and "consenting" is exactly what Tony Babauta and his pro-Guam, anti-CNMI rabble-rousing, federalizing minions attribute to the CNMI Legislature.

This classic psychological projection deserves a loud guffaw.

Anonymous said...

ADVISE AND CONSULT?

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:45

"Confusion between "consulting" and "consenting" is exactly what Tony Babauta and his pro-Guam, anti-CNMI rabble-rousing, federalizing minions attribute to the CNMI Legislature"

Tony Babauta is not anti-CNMI. Rabble-rousing minions?

You're grasping! That hysterical remark deserves a loud guffaw!

Anonymous said...

I will tell you, I use to be on the fence about the status issue. Now, I am firmly on the workers side.
Not that I think a big majority of people on Saipan don't want to see them get status. The very small anti-status gatherings seem to prove that. It's the leaders that seem so hell-bent on this I don't agree with the tactics. It reeks of privilege,desperation, and actually makes the CNMI, especially Saipan, look bad.
Unfortunately, the current immigration situation in the US is probably not a good thing for the workers here. The subject is just to white hot for anyone to make a decision about improved status. However, it could be a good thing if the scales tip in an "improved status" direction. Maybe they will use the CNMI as a test? Who knows. And there lies the problem, who knows. I do think that eventually the workers will get their status. However, the concept of "economic deporation" will kick in if this economy gets much worse. I would tell the workers to hang in there, but like myself, we ALL have to hang in there if we want to keep living on Saipan.

Anonymous said...

That is the big problem, that so many refuse to consider.

“It's the economy, stupid!”

This lack of economic wisdom was the problem with George Miller ramming down a minimum wage increase into our throats without a GAO economic study, and despite the fact that everyone knows that a large number of unskilled workers in the former TTPI or imported from abroad without any training at all -- not referring to qualified accountants, engineers, nurses, or skilled tradespeople -- do not have the work ethic or economic productivity for an employer to be able to afford to pay the federal minimum wage.

This lack of economic wisdom is the reason the CNRA and federalization are compounding our woes caused by Article XII, inexperienced local leadership, and federal failure to enforce corruption laws.

And now this same lack of economic wisdom is a full-scale typhoon in the form of all these status proposals.

Yes, we local people have sympathy for any guest workers who were abused (mostly by foreigners), but most of them could find greater opportunities simply by going home.

There is no reason for the guest workers to take down what is left of our economy, and take over our government as our rulers! The Covenant was not a genocide pact. We were already ripped off once with our 200-mile territorial waters.

“It's the economy, stupid!”

We need a Delegate who understands that, whether incumbent or challenger.

Anonymous said...

http://www.mvariety.com/component/option,com_apoll/id,12/task,view/view,apoll/

Be sure to make your voice heard and vote in the online poll on the variety website.


Are you in favor of improved status for guest workers?*

Anonymous said...

Help! I was looking for a person to work in my business and the best candidate is a contract worker with an umbrella permit. Can I just hire them, or do I have to do a JVA and post the job and all of the other thing that we have had to do when hiring CW. Actually, CW only make up about 10% of our workforce so we don't deal with it very much. I don't want to be a "test case" for the DOL. She told me that all I had to do was fill out an I-9 and the rest of the her employment package (that locals do) and she is hired. I am rather wary. Again, I represent a inter-island company and don't want to get in trouble with my superiors on Guam, who would rather me not hire a contract worker if at all possible. Advice?

Anonymous said...

12:26 It's not the economy, stupid. The economy tanked world-wide after the legislation was enacted.

You said, "everyone knows that a large number of unskilled workers in the former TTPI or imported from abroad without any training at all -- not referring to qualified accountants, engineers, nurses, or skilled tradespeople -- do not have the work ethic or economic productivity for an employer to be able to afford to pay the federal minimum wage." So now you are attacking the work ethic of foreigners who have been renewed up to 20 or so times? WOW!

AND you said, "Yes, we local people have sympathy for any guest workers who were abused (mostly by foreigners), but most of them could find greater opportunities simply by going home." The administrative orders prove that the foreign workers were abused over 90% by LOCALS. Then they were abused again when DOL and the AG refused to prosecute their local employers. Do some research before you make such a statement. Stop the lies! They could go home? Yes, without their pay right? Thousands have.

AND you said, "There is no reason for the guest workers to take down what is left of our economy, and take over our government as our rulers! The Covenant was not a genocide pact. We were already ripped off once with our 200-mile territorial waters."
IT IS NOT THE ECONOMY THAT IS STUPID! Do you even know what genocide is?

Anonymous said...

Noni 12:26 IS THAT YOU CINTA?

Anonymous said...

noni 4:57 Ask the US DOL or federal ombudsman. Why are you even asking? Are you so afraid of the big bad DOL? Hire the best person for the job!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if it is illegal to use local funds for a political rally, but it unethical when the CNMI has no money. Since this is a federal election maybe someone should ask the USDoJ.

jmixson03 said...

noni 9:44am, I gave the copy of that letter to Zaldy,

Anonymous said...

It is illigal to use any Govt funds etc. for any political event, or activity, whether it be NMI, state or Fed.

Wendy said...

Jmixson03

I don't know who you are, but I am glad you gave the letter to the press. The public deserves to know the truth. I asked for the letter only after I read Zaldy's article.

The real question should be WHY would 9:44 (who is also 7:42) even care how a newspaper got a copy of a letter?

The CNRA's provision concerning the DOI Report requires consultation with the governor. That requirement was met. It does not require approval of the draft! Was Congress interested in receiving a report from the governor or from DOI? Clearly, from DOI, as the law states.

What is astounding is that the governor and CNMI leaders continue to push the lie that they were not consulted. As the letter confirmed, they also tried to obstruct the report from going forward by refusing to provide data. Then when the ombudsman got data, they objected to the data she collected! What a bunch of obstructionist whiners! Any propagandists are members of the Fitial Administration and his supporters, not the Marianas Variety. Not me. Not those who expose their lies. Not those who are trying to follow the law.

jmixson03 said...

Yes Wendy, also I agree the word "Balderdash" (and other words used )by this person narrows that Noni down.It seems like many in this Admin. cannot understand why the majority are not supporting these "hearings" in spite of most of the NMI Govt. workers having been "ordered" to show up.
I do not know how long the MV will run the "poll" on the CW status, but it will be interesting to see what the results will be and if it will be any indication of any (non binding) referendum that may be placed on the ballot.
Seems like this Noni is desperate and taking this personal.
It almost sounds like much of the statements is some of the corrupted advice that is being fed to the Gov. and his followers.

Wendy said...

jmixson03

I think the advisors, consultants, volunteers and others do take it personally. What has become apparent in recent months is the outright racism. It's sickening, and the fact that it is promoted as "protection of indigenous rights" makes it all the more disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Wendy: Most, if not all, people who advocate proper economic studies, registration of aliens pursuant to the CNRA, and reasonable (not patronizing) consultation with the local government -- before any status change is undertaken by Congress -- are not taking this position because of racism or greed, but because of a commitment to the rule of law and the welfare of the citizens of the CNMI. It is your attributing base motives to others that is disappointing and lowers the level of social discourse on this topic.

Pointing fingers, laying blame, and casting aspersions does not solve problems. Recent Marianas Variety blog comments on Steve Woodruff are a perfect example of this. Please do what you do best, being a uniter, not a divider, and refrain from venomous attacks on Fitialites. When mud is slung, everyone gets dirty. This detracts from the workers' cause.

If you want to do something constructive, beyond the many positive things you do, advising workers, and of course hosting this useful blog, please help get the word out to the CNMI Bar and to Kilili about this provision:

U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, "Rules of Procedure and Statement of Policy for Private Immigration Bills," available at http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/111privimmigbills.pdf.

Also, DHS really needs to exercise its discretion to do a CNMI alien registration before any change of status is even considered. See Consolidated Natural Resources Act, Pub. L. 110-229, CNRA, § 702(a), ’§ 6(e)(3)’, 122 Stat. 754, 859, codified at 48 U.S.C. § 1806(e)(3).

A good ten percent of the umbrella permits were procured by fraud and bribery of CNMI officials. A primary reason for federalization was "security." Congress is unlikely to grant status to many of the fraudulent Umbrella Permit holders, such as "tourists" who arrived shortly before the TPED yet "magically" received the permits.

Getting started on the CNRA alien registration would help weed out the scammers and increase the prospects of our hard-working long-term guest workers.