CNMI Worker Final Rule Will Be Released This Week

August 31, 2011

While the DHS will finally fulfill its obligation to release the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Transitional Worker Classification regulations, the U.S. Congress has failed to act on the DOI recommendations concerning status for the 16,000 legal foreign workers of the CNMI.

The regulations that were delayed since November 2009 because of a lawsuit filed by Governor Fitial will be released this week.  The regulations are expected to be very similar to the interim regulations with minor changes based on the 134 comments that DPS received.  This means that all employers of foreign workers who do not qualify for traditional  HB-1 visas will need to apply for CW-1 visas for their employees.

Once the final rule is released employers will have less than three months to complete and receive approval on applications before the November 27, 2011 deadline when the CNMI-issued umbrella permits are no longer valid. It is expected that any currently employed foreign national will be allowed to continue working while the CW-1 application is being considered.

Every foreign worker will need to have an employer to be able to remain in the CNMI and to keep their family in the CNMI. Any worker without an employer MUST APPLY FOR PAROLE IMMEDIATELY IF HE/SHE HAS NOT DONE SO ALREADY.  They can contact the Federal Ombudsman Office or Micronesian Legal Services for information regarding parole.

A story in the Marianas Variety quoted Congressman Sablan as saying:
“Publication of these regulations will help lift the uncertainty that has been hanging over the heads of businesses and workers in the NMI ever since the governor got the federal court to strike down the original regulations in November 2009.

With the regulations now available, businesses will be able to make decisions about how many people to keep employed and whether the time has come to more actively recruit among local workers.

...And foreign workers will finally gain some certainty about whether they will have jobs here after November.
DHS had to be sure that every comment was carefully weighed after the injunction resulting from Fitial's lawsuit, the initial cause of the delay, but certainly it should not have taken this long. The U.S. agencies and bodies tasked with implementing U.S. P.L. 110-229, the CNRA, have acted in a seemingly  uncoordinated and lackadaisical manner to the detriment of the employers, employees and all people of the CNMI.

More significantly is the fact that Congressman Sablan failed to mention is that it has been over a year since the U.S. Department of Interior released its mandated report with recommendations on status for the legal, long-term foreign resident workers of the CNMI. The U.S. Congress, which could have acted immediately following that report, failed to do so and that gross failure has created more uncertainty and prolonged suffering than the delay in the release of the final rule. The only action by Congress has been the inferior bill, H.R. 1466 which fails to address status for the 16,000 legal, long-term foreign resident workers.  It excludes 12, 000 legal, long-term foreign workers and merely proposes the continuation of disenfranchisement for 4,000 foreign workers with U.S. citizen family members until such time as they are petitioned for green cards.

H.R. 1466 is an unacceptable response to the DOI report and a slap in the face to the legal, long-term foreign workers who have lived and worked in the CNMI for years, and even decades. It is the U.S. Congress that has created the uncertainty; the rule does not decide status, Congress does. Only permanent residency status will ease uncertainty.

There are only three months left. There are 12,000 legal, long-term foreign workers who have been outrightly betrayed and forsaken by Congressman Sablan and the co-sponsors of H.R. 1466, an un-American bill.  Rabby and I are accepting letters and statements from the foreign workers that we will take to Congress, federal officials and the national and international press this Fall. You can email them to doromal@earthlink.net .

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

KAPIT SA PATALIM MGA KAPATID!!!

PANAHON NA PARA TAYO MAGKA-IISA!!

Anonymous said...

KELILI, BONI MGA HUDAS!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't "kapit sa patalim". Hold on to God the Almighty. Remember dollar rate to pesos is going down. A lot of opportunities elsewhere. Time to look for them in another place not only here. There is no job available for GWS businesses are closing down and leaving this place.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of one single positive aspect of the Federal takeover of immigration. It has brought doubt and more misery to an already suffering people and economy.

Anonymous said...

RISE UP! THIS IS OUR HOME. WE NEEDS TO UNITE. WE ARE NOT THE MINORITY HERE! KALILI IS SAME AS FITIAL. TWO LIARS. ONE HERE AND ONE IN WASHINGTON.

Anonymous said...

For some, maybe it's just so easy to say ..ok ..let's go..there's no hope or life here..some people who's been here for 15 yrs. 20..maybe a hope that most of us is hoping to have a greencard ..tumatanda na tayo kabayan..lahat ng alas natin ay nakataya na rito..tungkol sa panginuon..alam kong bibigyan niya ako ng lakas upang makamtan ko ang aking minimithi..

Anonymous said...

Is Rabby collecting letters? Could UWM make another letter writing night again? Should we get a petition protesting the bill?

Anonymous said...

I blame congress more than dhs. we already have an idea of what the regs look like. they won't help us. maybe the employers won't want to pay the fees and we'll be out of jobs. what we need is status. if we were legally in the US for 20 years we would be citizens by now.

Anonymous said...

For all of the non-resident workers who have been living and working here for so long....the cards are already been laid down, H or CW visa...that's it. If you do not have an employer that will process such then, it is time to go. You are resilient just like bamboo, you are hardworking and submissive just like carabao and many employers around the world would love to employ you. Former restaurant workers are cruising the Carribean now for being staff of a cruise line.Rise-up, if you choose to go down to anybody's level but sometimes it is honorable to accept defeat. I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

To 9:25

"For all of the non-resident workers who have been living and working here for so long....the cards are already been laid down, H or CW visa...that's it.'

Congress can decide to grant green cards. That's not it.

" If you do not have an employer that will process such then, it is time to go." Go where? This is my home. I have nothing no place in the world. May be it's ok for you. May be you are in the 4,000.

"You are resilient just like bamboo, you are hardworking and submissive just like carabao and many employers around the world would love to employ you." I never got my back & OT pay from NMI. Why go without pay?

"Former restaurant workers are cruising the Carribean now for being staff of a cruise line." I'm not a restaurant worker.

"Rise-up, if you choose to go down to anybody's level but sometimes it is honorable to accept defeat."Rise up is honorable. Accept defeat if you're cowards. It is rise up, not rise down. Down is accepting defeat. Down is leaving without pay. Down is the lies.

"I rest my case." May be you have no case. Us in the 12,000 have a case. the federal law said status for workers. we are workers. United we are strong. You take defeat and we'll rise up!

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 8:57 Contact Rabby. I just talked to him and he said that the United Workers Movement would consider hosting a letter writing night for any of the workers who support permanent residency status for legal, long-term workers. Thank you to all of the legal, long-term workers who have contacted co-sponsors and members of Congress through letters and emails.

Anonymous 9:25 Each individual must decide whether he/she wants to leave quietly or fight. There are many considerations, as some mentioned here. Are there unpaid wages that a person needs (and deserves) to collect? Is there even a home to return to? To many foreign workers years and decades working in the CNMI equate to an investment. For them, it is difficult to just walk away without a fight. This is not a simplistic situation, no matter how much certain members of the U.S. Congress want to make it one. By refusing to answer why they screwed 12,000 legal long-term foreign workers totally, and 4,000 with a bogus CNMI-only status, they just increase the anger and mistrust. And no, "I can't help everyone" is not a proper answer. Of course, they can! If members of Congress can repeatedly introduce legislation to help 11 million undocumented aliens, then they certainly can, and must help 16,000.

Anonymous said...

9:05 said, "Don't "kapit sa patalim". Hold on to God the Almighty."

God helps those who help themselves! RISE UP!

Wendy Doromal said...

I should clarify that when I say "fight" I mean write letters, make calls, organize, rally, petition, speak out and stand up for the cause.

Anonymous said...

“I am assured that Homeland Security will be holding workshops and answering questions on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan over about a two-week period,” said Sablan. “Congressional staff will be working with businesses and all interested parties to make sure that DHS answers all the questions that are sure to arise about how these regulations will work.” Who will watch Sablan and his congressional staff to get them to answer to all betrayed?

Anonymous said...

our failure is always we wait until last minute. why don't we do action now before time runs out?

Anonymous said...

i would rather try than to do nothing. i'm writing. one letter from 12,000 can't be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side, those DHS and Congressional staff will be playing some good golf, staying at the posh Hyatt all while being served by CWs they're about to deport.