H.R. 1466: More Spin

July 20, 2011

Saipan Tribune reporter and assistant editor, Mark Rabago has another excellent article that further examines H.R. 1466.

In the article Congressman Sablan states:
“Most people not covered by H.R. 1466 will be covered by the CNMI-only worker regulations that DHS says are coming out soon,” said the two-term CNMI delegate in a recent email to the Saipan Tribune.

CW regulations are valid until the end of the transition period in 2014.
If that statement is true, then why is Congressman Sablan urging the passage of H.R. 1466 "to provide protection and keep families together" as he has promoted? Wouldn't these family members also be covered by the CNMI-only worker protections? Among the 4,000 affected by the bill are IRs who are already eligible to apply for green cards today without any bill, and parents of U.S. citizen children who can be granted permanent residency in the future when their U.S. citizen child turns 21 years off age and petitions for them. Certainly, the group of 4,000 nonresident workers that he selected to protect already has more protections than the 12,000 nonresident workers that he decided to conspicuously omit from the bill. If commenters on this blog are correct, voting age U.S. citizen family members of nonresident workers were promised a bill to provide protection/status for their nonresident spouses or parents in exchange for votes.

The bill only covers 1/4 of the total 16,000 non-resident workers. The truth is that because of the failed CNMI economy there are many alien workers who are now unemployed. The unemployed who have a U.S. citizen family member will "be protected", but not the unemployed who among the 12,000 without U.S. citizen family members. No matter how long they have worked in the CNMI, how much back pay that they are owed, how many family members they have that also need "protection", and regardless of the fact they they too have no "home" to return to, they will be forced to leave the CNMI.

The article also quoted Congressman Sablan as stating:
Sablan said the lack of alien worker witnesses in the hearing was because of time constraints and the necessity of having a witness directly affected by H.R. 1466 testify.

“Of course, anyone is free to submit written testimony-as all of the witnesses who spoke Thursday did. And all testimony-written and oral-is thoroughly reviewed and considered. I encourage as many people as they want to submit testimony,” he said.
Time restraints? Witnesses are afforded only five minutes to summarize their testimony. Five more minutes wouldn't fit into a hearing? The 12,000 unrepresented workers absolutely are affected by H.R. 1466. They are as impacted by their omission from H.R. 1466 as the 4,000 included in the bill will be  impacted!

Written testimony is regarded on the same level as oral testimony? I disagree.  No one who sends written testimony can be asked questions to clarify their points.  Do we even know that the committee members will read the written testimony?

We all know that the most dangerous element of H.R. 1466 is that if it passes there most likely will be no other status bill ever. How's that for impact?


Anonymous said...

It's a sorry bill and a waste of ink.