Message to the Foreign Resident Workers

August 13, 2011

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
-- Robert F. Kennedy

Dear Friends:

I am pleased to announce that Rabby Syed, President of the United Workers Movement-NMI, will join me and other supporters this Fall in Washington, DC to visit the offices of members of Congress and federal officials concerning granting permanent residency status to the de facto citizens of the CNMI. We will also meet with NGOs and members of the national and international press so that those who are championing immigration reform and concerned American citizens can understand the issue and the plight of the resident foreign workers of the CNMI. We believe that this effort will advance our goals to obtain permanent residency and a direct pathway to citizenship for all of the legal, long-term foreign resident workers of the CNMI.

It is time that we insist that our elected leaders and policymakers separate fleeting political, social and economic interests from those that will remain forever morally right and just. The CNMI's legal, long-term foreign resident workers have sacrificed enough for the CNMI community over the last three decades.  They must be removed once and for all from the shackles of the oppressive, disenfranchised status that they have been held in for years and up to three decades. Where people are concerned, decisions should be based on their well-being, compassion, justice and the democratic principles upon which our country was founded, and not on what is perceived to be politically or economically advantageous at the moment.

The future political, economic and social success of the CNMI is dependent upon the foreign residents being recognized as vital members of the workforce and contributing members of the community-at-large. It is time - far past time- that the de facto citizens were treated as equals. It is time that they be given the political, social and economic rights that they have earned and deserve. History has taught us that whenever a segment of society is disenfranchised, treated as an underclass, and held down by political chains, the oppressors who are denying the rights of others will also be held down because the they are holding the other end of the chains. Reform will benefit every person who lives and works in the CNMI, not just the foreign resident workers.

Every person has a choice and role when they witness social injustice. They can contribute to perpetuating the suffering of the voiceless and maintaining the status quo.  They can sit and watch the social injustice with the false notion that there is nothing that they can do or the belief that it will not impact them. They can complain about inequalities, but do nothing to change them. Or they can stand up and demand justice for themselves or others. People of conscience must stand up to defend the rights of others, especially when social injustice is inflicted upon those who are disadvantaged by the denial of political, social, or economic rights.  I invite you to join us in our pursuit of justice for the legal, long-term, foreign resident workers of the CNMI.

If you have a letter or message you would like Rabby and me to carry to our nation's capitol, you can contact Rabby at anytime or meet him Tuesday evening at the Town Hall meeting to be held at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. He will be there. You can contact me at .


Anonymous said...

God be with you! Long live!

Anonymous said...

I agree that people have to help themselves and others. If you are in the 12,000 left out you have to speak up now or it will be too late! Maybe at the town hall meeting or by writing a letter to explain your own case. How long you worked in the NMI and how being left out will harm you and your family members.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing the fight to Washington. Good luck and may you prosper.

Anonymous said...

I know so many who gave up because we tried for years and got no results. Lots are defeated by the racist comments from haters. Lots feel betrayed by Cong. Sablan. He invited us to a meeting with the codel like he's really trying to help us, but then nothing for us. It's like we get our hopes high and then most of us aren't helped. For us with no US relatives he pretend we aren't here. Congressman Sablan don't say why he betray us 12,000. Maybe if you can ask the bill signers why they betray us and explain you can get them to help us. Maybe they don't know we need help more than the workers with US relatives.

Anonymous said...


After reading your letter in the post about Kilili getting 47 so-sponsors for the bill, I checked out who they are. You are right because it looks like they are all members of one of the two congressional caucuses, the Asian Pacific American or Hispanic like you wrote in your letter. Both caucuses are behind immigration reform, so my guess is your letter is right on target. They probably don't have the background on this issue and must have been fed a line by Kilili to sign on as co-sponsors. If you read about their stands on immigration, their support of this bill runs counter to their beliefs. Your letter should make some of them scratch their heads and dig deeper. I wish you luck on educating them. Keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your work for us. I hope you succeed. If not we'll leave with dignity and our heads held high.

Anonymous said...

For decades it's always the same person supporting the workers.(Thanks, Wendy) My question is what do the churches and religious leaders have to say? Where are they? Shouldn't they be leading the charge? Kilili is motivated by votes from residents, but the churches serve all of the people and the alien workers make up most of their membership. In the mainland you see church leaders, and especially the Catholic Church supporting immigration reform. Here there is silence and no support from the religious leaders. Why aren't they protecting their flocks? They should be in the headlines every single day asking for all alien workers to be protected and get improved status. Tsk, tsk.

Anonymous said...

Just how many of the churches have US Cit. Priests?
These churches should stay out of external affairs especially when it involves Govt. operations.
Unlike in the Phil. where they try and meddle in all of the Govt. affairs and threaten to excommunicate or suspend sacraments to the lawmakers if they do not follow the thoughts and rules of the Bishops Conference.
BYW, by the same token, why has not the churches ever spoken out about the abundant child abuse, rapes and domestic violence here and even in the Phil.? (don't know about other places if they do)

Anonymous said...

Kilili betrayed many non-residents workers. True to his current job CNMI [Commonfriends Ninong-Ninang Mare-Pare Interconnection] delegate. Ms. Hazel Doctolero is 18 years old. She only needs 3 more years to petition her parents. Lucky you, you are the classmate of Kilili's daugther. How about the others who have been here longer than your parents who are childless? You are smart and you can figure that out!

Anonymous said...

7:38 The Catholic Church is leading the immigration reform movement in the U.S. Where have you been? Churches have a moral obligation to their people, all of their people and that includes aliens. The churches in the NMI should step up as 7:48 suggests.

Anonymous said...


TAGLISH said...

Anon 12:25
ALL CWs here on CNMI must go out and show the world our situation here. We just need an hour to stop working and assemble to show how CNMI will function without CWs just for an hour! ALL nurses, cook, farmers, engineers, cashiers,teachers, accountants,clerks,waiters, drivers, heavy equipment operators, machinist, boat & telephone operators,housemaids,entertainers,construction workers, etc.,etc.,
CW's must be one. It's now or never!!

Anonymous said...

The CNMI government don't understand how we, contract workers suffered emotionally, economically, socially just to wait and hope that someday,the CNMI government and the FEDS will consider us even for humanitarian reasons.I have one 8 year old US citizen child with me. Same with eveybody else in my situation will feel tha way I feel. I am worried about my childs' future. I want to give whatever the best i can do for her.I am sure that CNMI authorities are parents too. So, I am sure, they can relate to me as parent.Please...I am just asking for a little fairness!

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 1:52

Everyone with a conscience wants fairness and we are fighting for fairness. Fairness is not protecting only those legal aliens with U.S. citizen immediate relatives. Fairness is protecting ALL LEGAL, long-term foreign workers. Congressman Sablan knows what is fair. His choice was to throw 12,000 under the bus. Very unfair and sad for all. Equally unfair is to grant a sub-U.S. status. What will happen to these people if the law passes and they cannot find work? They are chained to the islands to survive how? On U.S. food stamps and medicaid given to their U.S. citizen spouses or children? The foreign workers have NO retirement benefits! Many paid into Social Security and can't collect unless they are granted U.S. status not some inferior CNMI-only status. Others have nothing. The U.S. Congress allowed this mess over three decades. They need to fix it NOW.

the saint said...

I agree with Wendy that the US should act to fix the mess created here but I disagree with the poster above that wants support from the church. Given the history of the Catholic Church, I wouldn't ask for or care about their support in this immigration/humanitarian matter. Two places on earth don't allow divorce, PI and Vatican City. So when a woman is beaten or raped by her drunken husband there, where can she turn for help or justice? The churchs meddling into family planning and birth control is outragious and seeks to keep their own positions of power.

Anonymous said...

i agree with Taglish. let us stop working, it's a now or never situation. what do we have to lose now? how much more down can we get?

Anonymous said...

Check the Interior-funded McFee economic analysis of federalization.

Wait until the CNMI economy and tax revenue decline another 50%, the government workforce is cut correspondingly, the NMIRF runs out of money, and a high percentage of U.S. citizens who move off-island go to Guam instead of the more lucrative mainland because they can only afford to travel that far.

By then, guest workers will be marching in the streets for USAF cargo planes to take them home, and seeking diplomatic protest notes from their ambassadors in Washington to request the same thing.

I'd give it about three years.

Anonymous said...

I wish the guest worker groups would gather together and do a Thursday Friday sick day. If all contract workers called in sick on a back to back Thursday - Friday can you imagine the impact it would have on the CNMI? Would the papers get printed? I know a few businesses that would be unable to function at all. Imagine 2 days without contracted guest workers.

The hope of such an effort would be to send a message to both local leaders and to Washington. Let the world know what impact the guest workers truly have on the economy of the CNMI.

Kilili is attempting to "save" a handful with kids and spouses that are US Citizens. Let us not gloss over the true impact of what could happen if all guest workers were sent packing on November 27, 2011.

Come on Rabby, Wendy, and all other group leaders, call for a couple sick days. You need at least 80% to hold their ground and call in sick for it to be effective. Entire restaurants would come to a halt. Hotels would be hit hard. Stores would be impacted. Construction would stop.

Follow this up with a strong request to local and federal leaders to implement a pathway to citizenship and do what is right.