September 18, 2011

An article in today's Saipan Tribune, "Support for Kilili's Bill Grows", suggests that support for the H.R. 1466 is growing. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the limited number of people who are covered by the bill are now rallying behind it.

I am not sure how support for a bill that excludes 3/4 of the legal, long-term foreign workers can grow.  At most it will only have the support of the limited number of people who are covered under the bill. Congressman Sablan testified that that number was no more than 4,000.

Of course, it is expected that many of the people under the four categories covered by the bill would support it as a band aid-type solution to provide a minimal protection for the selected group of foreign workers –those only who have a U.S. citizen spouse or child.   Under H.R. 1466 they will be merely maintaining status quo until the provided specific categories apply for, or are granted permanent residency. Some covered by the bill recognize the injustice of excluding equalling deserving legal foreign workers and are not supporting the bill on moral principle. Rather, they support introducing legislation that would provide permanent residency for all of the 16,0000 legal, long-term foreign resident workers.

I do not support H.R. 1466 as it stands. None of the legal, long-term foreign resident workers who were deliberately left out from the bill that I have talked to support it either. Why would they?! Under H.R. 1466, only one quarter or about 4,000 of the 16,000 legal, long-term foreign resident workers, would be granted CNMI-only status to continue to remain in the CNMI as a disenfranchised underclass denied of any political and social rights. The other 12,000 are not even mentioned in the bill and are even left out of the conversation like somehow they are not significant. Perhaps the 4,000 or 1/4 of the legal, long-term foreign workers who are covered by the bill may support it, but certainly the 12,000 or 3/4, of the legal, long-term foreign workers excluded from it do not.

No matter how you add it up the majority of the legal, long-term foreign workers do not support the bill simply because it omits them! A majority, or 3/4 of the legal, long-term foreign resident workers oppose the bill as it stands so support for it cannot "grow" unless it is changed to include every legal, long-term foreign worker.

It appears that the call for "support" for the bill came from Congressman Sablan and from Daniel Buniag, Governor Fitial's Special Assistant for Special Projects. An email that Mr. Buniag sent to members of CREAM and those who are covered under  H.R. 1466 stated, "Congressman Kilili requested me to put together a big group of the affected people to meet with the USCIS that he will schedule and arrange." The email reads:
Dear All,

This is to inform you that I emailed and asked Congressman Kilili of what solutions and remedies he can provide and do regarding the effects and uncertainties that the USCIS CNMI final rules on his H. R. 1466 which is still in the House of Representatives of the US Congress. As you are all aware HR 1466 seek to resolve the status of certain persons legally residing in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands under the immigration laws of the United States.

Without a US Congress enacted mandate the 4 groups of people namely: Those children born between January 1, 1974 and January 9, 1978;
Those persons granted CNMI permanent residency under section 4303 of Title 3 of the CNMI Code; Those parents and US citizen children that are still young, some are of voting age but can not file petition for parents due to income, and the immediate relatives. Their status in the CNMI i in limbo after November 27, 2011. All ethnic groups that are affected and covered by H. R. 1466 are welcomed.

Congressman Kilili requested me to put together a big group of the affected people to meet with the USCIS that he will schedule and arrange. Therefore, I would like to request your help and assistance that we invite as many of the affected persons and families to meet and talk with the USCIS. I plan to announce the planned meeting on radio and newspapers as soon as I get the date from Congressman Kilili.
Please let me know of your input, suggestion and recommendation. Maraming salamat po.

I have been communicating with officials in Washington, DC. over the last several weeks. While people certainly can make suggestions on the final regulations, I have been told that the final rule is unlikely to be altered except to "tweak" sections as problems are revealed. DHS received 146 comments that they considered.  They came up with the final rule after an extended period of long deliberations.

I am unsure how a meeting with USCIS will alleviate any of the uncertainty or fear that every long-term foreign worker has right now.  USCIS has set up public meetings so that questions can be answered and the rule can be understood and perhaps some uncertainty will be alleviated. But the only thing that will erase uncertainty and provide true security and stability is for the U.S. Congress to grant permanent residency status to every legal, long-term foreign resident worker.

It is amazing to me that people refer to "affected" people as only those who are covered by H.R. 1466. The federal transition and uncertainty in the absence of permanent U.S. status affects every foreign worker, not just those with a U.S. citizen spouse or child; not just those covered by H.R. 1466! The 12,000 left out of H.R. 1466 are also affected. Perhaps their uncertainty is even greater because they do not have green cards in their future as the 4,000 foreign workers provided for in H.R. 1466 who are married to a U.S. citizen spouse or who are parents of a U.S. citizen child do.

The 12,000 left out of the bill have families too. Many foreign workers who contacted me in recent weeks are foreign workers married to other foreign workers and many of them have foreign children so they are not covered under H.R.1466. Why do some consider them and their families any less important than those 4,000 with a U.S. citizen family member? Many of those who are left out of the bill have worked in the CNMI for longer than some who are covered? How is that just?

Malou Berueco was quoted:
Berueco said she “strongly disagrees” with human rights advocate Wendy Doromal's statement advocating for “all or nothing” instead of advocating “for some” in connection with Sablan's HR 1466.

“Personally, I would rather save some than not saving anybody at all. If we are trying to solve a solution for all, we are not trying to solve any problem at all. One size doesn’t fit all,” she said.

Berueco said that those covered by Sablan's bill are contributing members of the CNMI economy, including those who have been legally employed for years as nurses, engineers, architects, accountants, hotel workers, house workers and caregivers.
Let me respond here since the Saipan Tribune did not contact me to respond to this comment. I never said "all or nothing" in regard to this bill on this site or anywhere. Never. I said that the bill needs to be revised or substituted with a just and democratic bill that includes all of the legal, long-term foreign workers. That is my position. I have never advocated for "some" legal, long-term foreign workers in regards to upgrading their status. I never will advocate for some. I have always advocated for all legal, long-term foreign workers. I will continue to advocate for all. My position will not change because I view it as the only just, moral and democratic position. I will never support or endorse an idea, belief or bill that would cause immense harm to some, and in this case to the majority of those affected, or 12,000 people.

It is absolutely true that those covered by Sablan's bill are contributing members of the CNMI community as Ms. Berueco stated. What she appears to have forgotten is that the 12,000 legal, long-term foreign workers who were deliberately excluded from the bill are also contributing members of the CNMI community!

I am unsure what Ms. Beraco means by "one size doesn't fit all." But I do know that if members of the U.S. House and Senate can continually introduce legislation that calls for permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented children under the DREAM ACT, and for permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal aliens under various versions of comprehensive immigration reform bills, then these same members certainly can and should introduce legislation to cover all of the legal, long-term foreign workers in the CNMI. I believe that they will.  It is all the more difficult to get a decent bill introduced in Congress with a divided foreign worker community with some advocating to save themselves and ignoring the plight of their fellow countrymen and co-workers who were dealt a bad deal.


Anonymous said...

What will these same leaders say if the law leaves out them coz they already are in line for green cards ? Then they'll support it? No way.its good to fix the bill.

Anonymous said...

"It is amazing to me that people refer to "affected" people as only those who are covered by H.R. 1466. The federal transition and uncertainty in the absence of permanent U.S. status affects every foreign worker, not just those with a U.S. citizen spouse or child; not just those covered by H.R. 1466! The 12,000 left out of H.R. 1466 are also affected. Perhaps their uncertainty is even greater because they do not have green cards in their future as the 4,000 foreign workers provided for in H.R. 1466 who are married to a U.S. citizen spouse or who are parents of a U.S. citizen child do."

Spot on! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The Feds and Fedworshippers have crushed any remaining hope these people have. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same Dan Buniag that had a meet and greet for Joe Camacho last election? The same Buniag who helped to start Covenant Party? What's the reason he support this?

Anonymous said...

The meeting called by Mr. Buniag is a different meeting held last saturday night by community leaders/members of guest workers. The meeting is basically to ask the honorable Cong. Sablan to include other foreign workers not covered by the cw rules.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

rally to support a bill that would send the majority home? no way!

Anonymous said...

Wendy, why don't you support USCIS extending theNov. 2011 deadline so more people can find jobs?

Anonymous said...

Noni 10:25 Show us the letter to Sablan to ask to include all...i want to see that signed by these advocates who come out only when politicians ask for show...everything they say since the bill comes out is they want hr 1466 to pass... worse thing they put down the people who want all of us in the bill... good if they all back a new bill... i want to see them...they say they want us in the bill so we can rally with them to save them...they know Sablans not changing the bill...i lost trust of sometimes advocates.

Anonymous said...

Fitialites and native rights supporters killed the hope. They got the grandfathering clause removed from the original bill.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 5:30

I do not believe that USCIS has the authority to extend the November 27, 2011 deadline. The date was established by Congress in PL 110-229 and I believe that it can only be amended by Congress. Since our Congress has grinded to a halt because of partisan divisiveness, it is extremely unlikely that members would be able to get it together to extend a deadline. There are urgent matters that affect millions that they are not even addressing now. I defer to someone who is not guessing, but I am fairly certain that USCIS does not have that authority.

the saint said...

The self appointed leaders have all been scammers in the past and only US citizen children give their case merit. Buniag and Bonnie and a couple cronically unemployed mothers and my case is now proven...throw in illagal taxi drivers and other leaders too and we have a circus of illegals....and isn't Willie Wagon a good contract worker too or did he go with Ben and Josie to Shanghai...we are glad to hear CREAM and DEKADA support the Kilili bill....that means it has no chance......jeeez pleeez....enough already.

Kilili's bill can't pass, it is unconstitutional for openers and would set precedence for 13 million illegals in the US and there is no way Boehner and Co. will support an immigration measure.

yesterday. three different (illegal) business owners complained to me that they were afraid they would need to pay the 560. and then some local would try to claim the job, so business in the NMI is already trying to get around an intent of this law....and the alien owned business doesn't qualify to own business in US.

Anonymous said...

to gw anons who keeps criticizing these guest worker leaders -

there are only a few more days before a lot of people lose their status and privelege to stay in the cnmi, do you have other ideas on how to help? if you have please put it out there instead of critizing these worker advocates.

these handful of people are doing what they can within the very limited options available. time is running out.

please help them help you and many others.

Anonymous said...

8:38 leader anonymous we aren't stupid to support these fake leaders with no followers. they come out when dianne seimer or some other clown holds a carrot in front of them with a fake promise. this bill is no good. we stand with the real leaders and advocates who works for us all the time, not only when it gets to the end. we are with the people who fight for GREEN CARDS. this bill don't include us!

Anonymous said...

Every person who will be out of status on November 27 should apply for parole-in-place now. Stop waiting for some stupid bill to pass. It has as much chance as a snowball in hell.

TAGLISH said...

Anon 9:38 AM

I was told that Advance parole and parole-in-place issued has a validity date up to Nov 2011 only. So it won't help. Anyone who could confirm this?

Anonymous said...

Contact USCIS and ask, but isn't paroloe-in-place is for a year?

Itos said...

There was a comment made by one of the supporters of HR 1466 that i think is really mindless. That person suggested that if a contract worker doesn't have a job and cannot qualify for CW but has a US citizen child whose got at least two more years to go to be able to petition his/her contract worker parents, should voluntarily exit the CNMI.This is just outrageous!!!it just infuriates me to know that some people can be that stupid to even think this... And regarding HR 1466...wake up people! this bill wont get anywhere even if you support it...The US congress won't pass a bill that would only save a few and mistreat 12,000 others. Instead we should all request for it's amendment. Permanent residency for ALL long term legal workers and a Pathway to citizenship. We should all support a just and not a discriminative bill.

Anonymous said...

Questions... we have three kids here in saipan I work in a big company and my common law wife is not working, if I get the CW 1 can I also apply my common law wife CW 2?

Anybody got the answers? Wendy!


Wendy Doromal said...


You are correct! I have been working since PL 110-229 passed to get it amended to include permanent residency status. The VAST MAJORITY of the foreign workers want permanent residency. They want rights. They want freedom to travel. They want to be able to change employers if they are abused, as has been the experience for many. They deserve this. This bill does nothing to help the majority of the foreign workers and merely maintains the status quo for the 1/4 of those that are covered.

The foreign workers have been political pawns since they first stepped foot in the CNMI. CNMI politicians continue to ensure that they remain disenfranchised, yet they use them to serve their own political purposes. Stop the cycle. Continue to demand full rights. The three other categories of CNMI nonresidents that are included in the bill should have been granted green cards years and decades ago. They should be granted permanent U.S. status immediately!

Our efforts must be focused on getting permanent residency for ALL legal, longterm foreign workers and all nonresidents who should have been covered under PL 110-229.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7:24... The answer to your question is NO. I went to Transitional Outreach Session this afternoon, for employers, and David Gulick specified that you must be legally married in able for you to apply CW2 status for your spouse. I would suggest to find an employer for your common law wife so she could stay here on CNMI. I also hope that parole in place will be issued to her in case she could not find an employer by 11/27/11.

They said U.S. immigration system has always promoted family unity...REALLY? Then please keep the families together here...especially those who are staying here legally!

Anonymous said...

innocent alien workers hope got killed by USA bad politicians this is the truth and its really hurt/give amazed pain to all workers here from such a long time to supported island economically.USA giving green cards to out sider not to workers who paid TAX/supported island.who will pay back them taxes/back wages?who is responsible for that? may be mr.fitial?usa government?lots of worker has paid USA TAX.some are return them country after 7 years they worked hard to pay tax.USA must think about human dignity to return them tax back because they are not residence of USA.why should u cut huge tax if workers are not from your country. u should cut huge tax from your doesnt make any sense.its like cheating workers who are supporting your nation.nice to meet you USA after long time you are a getting new communist are not america i was always dreamed.i am sorry USA you are not united any more to serve better life to human being you are united to cheat human being who served them life so longer on your soil with your killed them dream/life because they are here from been long time to waited for you just for you only.GOD BLESS to all CNMI alien workers.lets go back our country all together so they will see how all business run on island its time to unite.lets leave....

Johnnie Jumper said...

Lets stop working for one day,just one day!Lets see what will happen...Lets unite all alien workers........

Anonymous said...

According to Mr. Gullick pl 110-229 intends to zero out gw by 2014! don't he mean zero out CNMI consumers too? i thought the cw regulations intent is to help the ailing CNMI economy!

the saint said...

Noni 4:15, although tax laws vary, it is common to pay taxes where you work or to where the income is sourced. Residents here pay little tax relatively speaking, so I don't understand your point. If I were still working abroad, most industrialized nations and I believe everyone in Europe, would tax me according to their tax codes. Europe pays upward to 50% in several countries and they are quite effective in collections and enforcement.

Wendy Doromal said...

The Saint

The foreign workers have paid thousands in taxes. They have had social security deductions, and the vast majority will never receive social security.

It is time that the CNMI residents pay taxes at the federal tax rate. There is FAR too much federal tax dollars being poured into the CNMI and received by generally ungrateful and critical officials and often wasted or misused. Perhaps if residents paid their share, they would be less wasteful and more appreciative.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, JFYI, in case you are not aware, Filipino's do not get SS taken out of their wages.
Japanese get it taken out and according to one Japanese friend that has worked in the US and NMI, Japan and the US have an agreement that will combine the US and Japan SS system on retirement and pay the Japanese retiree according to the combined amount paid into both systems.
I whole heartedly agree with your last part about taxes along with a property tax.
The property tax will probably come after the abolition of Art. XII.(maybe in my lifetime)

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 11:22

I know that Filipinos and Koreans don't have SS taken from their wages because of an agreement with the U.S., but foreign workers from China, Bangladesh and other countries do have social security deducted. Read this August 2010 post.

Anonymous said...

ms. wendy please organize a silent protest on october 7 at 7:30 to 8:00 in the evening by turning off our power for 30 minutes...go out and light a candle on the street. i think 2 weeks is enough to spread the words...

Anonymous said...

I support Johnnie Jumper. Why not? There's nothing more to lose! Let's show them what it is to be with no CW. Just one, just one day!

I'm getting hopeless with the congress! It's like waiting for a miracle to happen.

To ANON SEPT 23, 11:22 a.m.
Can you see yourself as a descriminative writer? It is not tantamount that if you say CW, he or she is a Filipino. There are other nationals that are contract workers, like what Mam Wendy said. Get your brains together. What you said is descriminatory.

Itos& Mam Wendy: I agree with you, that we should focus in getting permanent residency.

On the other hand, I can't blame the other group for deciding to support Kilili. They decided to side with the "lesser evil". This is what we call in Tagalog/Filipino the "Kapit sa Patalim". I believe that they would rather have everybody get permanent residency but for now,it's the only way.

Most of the CW I talked to have the "defeatist" attitude now, can't blame them.

The bottom line, let's go with JOHNNIE JUMPER!!!!

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 4:29

I think that is a great idea! I will help you spread the word.