Call to Attend the Senate Hearing!

February 17, 2011

Unheard No More! joins the United Worker Movement and Human Dignity Movement in inviting all nonresident workers who want a voice in securing their future and the future of their families to attend the upcoming Senate Hearings to be held on Rota (February 18), Saipan (February 24), and Tinian (February 25). While we acknowledge that it is the U.S. Congress and not the CNMI Legislature that will eventually decide the status of the long-term foreign nonresidents, nonresidents and their supporters also want to take a stand against untruths in the draft Senate Report that the CNMI Legislature intends to submit to the U.S. Congress.

On Saipan nonresidents and their supporters will be meeting at Kilili Beach on February 24, 2011 at 4:00pm. At 5:00pm they will walk to the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe for the Senate Hearing. Please bring signs and written testimony expressing your personal views on status and telling how long you and your family has lived and worked in the CNMI. You may submit copies of previous letters that you have sent to the U.S. Congress through Wendy Doromal, if you like. Copies of your testimony will be sent to the U.S. Congress for consideration.

Those who cannot attend the hearing may submit testimony for the U.S. Congress through Rabby Syed (contact at 671-888-4025), Ronnie Doca, or Itos Feliciano who will send the copies to human rights advocate Wendy Doromal who will distribute them to Congressional committees and U.S. officials. You may also send your testimony directly to Wendy Doromal via email: doromal@earthlink.net .

The draft Senate report is flawed because it is based on the lie that the U.S. Department of Interior did not allow officials from the CNMI the opportunity to submit their views on status for long-term nonresidents. The officials had two years from the time the bill was passed, and many face-to-face meetings with Assistant Secretary Tony Babauta; however, they failed to express their views or submit a statement.  (See The Lie for complete details of meeting dates and failed opportunities.)

The draft Senate report claims that the majority of the nonresidents are fine with disenfranchisement, or an FAS-type status, which is untrue. Most nonresidents consider "improved status" as U.S. status that includes full social and political rights, or hope for a green card with an unobstructed pathway to citizenship. The draft Senate report ignored the written testimony submitted by the United Workers Movement, which outlined the demands of our petition with over 7,000 signatures asking for green cards and a pathway to citizenship for the legal long-term CNMI nonresidents. The UWM will be re-submitting their testimony. All nonresidents and their supporters are invited to add their signatures to the testimony.

The draft Senate Report denied the existence of systematic, commonplace and ignored labor abuses that thousands of nonresident workers suffered for decades under the dysfunctional CNMI labor and immigration system. Certain rights belong to every human being as outlined in the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights. Certain constitutional rights belong to every person as long as they are on U.S. soil.  Every person has the right be paid for every hour that they work, but under the CNMI labor and immigration system many nonresident workers were denied of this fundamental right. The nonresident workers who were abused or cheated of wages deserve to be paid the full compensation that is owed to them.

I will be joining with CNMI worker groups to appeal to U.S. officials and international bodies for help in requesting reparation so these victims may be made whole.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The US government should pay back every worker who was cheated, lock up the crooks. The US can deduct all of the money spent to pay the CWs back from the budget that the US gives to the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

Labor abuses are worst. The employers know we need jobs so we have to be paid less than what we're owed. I am going to the hearing because they are liars. I am sick of lies. Show me the money!

Anonymous said...

There is no money.

That's why everyone is leaving.

The U.S. should use an Air Force C-141 to give voluntary departures to unemployed guest workers and their families.

Anonymous said...

10:55 If employers had no money they had no right hiring OCWs. The US should use Air Force C-141 and pick up the employers who have outstanding debts to OCWs and drop them all on Maug.

Anonymous said...

we all must show up. Voice out if we are only wanted as 2nd or3rd class citizens then let's go where we can be paid for every hour we work.

the grim reaper said...

7:54 am "The US government should pay back every worker who was cheated"

I don't think the US owes anyone anything. The correct action was to sue for non-payment not use this as a reason to stay. Some have stayed here for a decade after their employer died...so where should the line be drawn?

Neither investor or worker regs allow for an improved immigration status, so now what, a hunger strike? Foreign nationals without investor visas, working visas, married to other CGWs, and those in catagories restricted from working visas (maid, dancer, etc) should prepare to depart. Like it or not, it is what the law says. Those with citizen children can pursue that avenue.