Fitial-Willens on H.R. 1466

July 26, 2011

A memo written by Howard Willens (Is he still on the Fitial payroll?) on behalf of Governor Fitial concerning H.R. 1466 is a big yawn.  Willens argues that there are likely over 13,000 legal aliens who would receive the upgraded CNMI-only status under H.R. 1466.  Congressman Sablan claimed that only 4,000 would qualify. In his oral testimony at the July 14 hearing Governor Fitial estimated 11,000 would qualify.

H.R. 1466 does not address granting status for all of the estimated 16,000 legal, long-term nonresident workers, but only a select number of aliens with a U.S. citizen spouse or child. It is the number in this group that is being debated.

The memo argues about continuous residency, splits statistical hairs and has the same xenophobia nuances that permeated Fitial's testimony and the written testimony of his appointee, Susan Blas De Leon Guerrero.  The memo was written to support Fitial's written testimony that contained the argument that granting shitty CNMI-only status only some of the qualified long-term  aliens will negatively impact the CNMI is baseless since these same aliens have been in the CNMI for decades!  They already impacted it. They impacted it positively building the economy and as contributing members of the community.

The memo concentrates on births of U.S. citizen children with aliens parents, as if somehow they are less than full U.S. citizens because their parents are aliens. It suggests that their parents' status should remain second-class even though these aliens have become de facto citizens having been renewed by the CNMI government for years and decades.

Willens suggests that as many as 7,557 U.S. citizen children in the CNMI have alien parents and estimates that as many as 13,602 could take advantage of gaining second-class CNMI-status through  H.R. 1466.  As if giving only 13,602 legal aliens an inferior status could hurt anything? These people are all immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen.  The aliens who are married to a U.S. citizen spouse are already eligible for green cards now; those aliens who are parents of U.S. citizen children can be petitioned for permanent residency when their U.S. citizen children become 21 years of age. What's the problem?

The nonresident workers being debated entered the Commonwealth legally. They were brought in by CNMI leaders with the blessing of the indigenous people. What Fitial and his cronies really object to is having the disenfranchised underclass have any chance of obtaining social, political or economic rights. But not to worry, H.R. 1466 does not upgrade the affected alien workers to permanent residency status as it should.  It proposes the creation of a CNMI-only status that mirrors the status granted to the freed slaves under the post-Civil War Black Codes.

The truth is that it does not matter if there are 4,000, 11, 000 or 13,000 aliens with a U.S. citizen spouse or child. So many have left because they were robbed of wages and could not survive, lost their jobs because of the depressed economy or moved to greener pastures that it would take another census to determine how many are actually left. Who really cares?  The fact that Congressman Sablan left out other equally deserving long-term nonresident aliens is unacceptable and makes the bill defective anyway.  Arguing over what number of the legal, nonresident workers could be granted a CNMI-only status that restricts travel and chains them to the CNMI in their current disenfranchised state seems to be a waste of time.

The only morally correct move would be to grant permanent residency status to every legal, long-term (5 or more years) nonresident worker.  If they have jobs, they will stay and continue to contribute to the betterment of the CNMI. If they are no longer employed then they can take their chances in other U.S. localities where, being the hardworking and intelligent people that they are, they will find jobs and prospects for a brighter future. Give these people freedom and return their dignity!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Wendy, HR1466 is prejudiced and should not be accepted by US Congress instead should amend to include DOI's recommendation.

Anonymous said...

It's true, we are hoping that the U.S. Congress will accept the DOI's report for everyone will be benefited. This Island is already like our home, and admire the hospitableness of the indengious people here. We do not mind what attitude they have, yet we do understand about their feelings that we are living under imperfections. Whatever attitudes they have, they are thinking they will be underestimated, we have to understand those ways they are showing. We thanks you so much Wendy for your support.

Anonymous said...

How much did Willens get for this junky report? No person can read this and get anything out of it anyway. Does the guv even read the junk from his special lawyers before he signs them?

Anonymous said...

Funny these clowns never had data when the US government asked for it. This is the most confusing and far-fetched report that the members probably ever got. It's going right in the circular file.