Desperate for Status

October 9, 2011

The two Saipan papers covered a story yesterday detailing that foreign workers without jobs gathered at an organized session to complete USCIS forms for parole. The articles stated that hundred of foreign workers hoped that they had a chance to receive parole so they could remain in the CNMI after November 27, 2011.

To most of these foreign workers, the CNMI is the only home that they have known for years or even decades. If nothing else, these articles show how the federal system is grossly inadequate because P.L. 110-229  lacked a provision that would provide permanent residency for the legal, long-term foreign resident workers. The failure has left many long-term foreign workers in a desperate state, as the clock is ticking and they have no other home to return to if they cannot find a job in the CNMI. The failure has also resulted in establishing a costly federal GW Program to improve upon the mess that was once the CNMI system. A large GW program would not have been necessary if a status provision had been included in the legislation and the foreign workers who make up 90% of the private workforce were stabilized.

Congressman Sablan called me one evening last month to let me know that a Filipino who was raised by his parents in the CNMI and graduated from NMC with a degree had received parole to stay in the CNMI until January 2012. This was encouraging news. I was confused about this issue and questioned who exactly could qualify for such parole.  In fact, I sought information from a couple of attorneys, one who Congressman Sablan suggested that I contact, but I received no response.  It wasn't until USCIS released information, that this issue became clearer to me.

A previous post, USCIS Releases Parole Information contains embedded USCIS  information.

As I understand it, parole applies to specific categories:
  • Widows or widowers of a deceased U.S. citizen
  • Children turning 18 who are dependents of CW-1 workers
  • Immediate relatives of FSM residents
  • Those residents born in the CNMI between 1974 and 1978
  • CNMI permanent residents
USCIS has stated that those foreigners who were issued a parole document and an I-94 can apply for an extension until January 2012.  Others who may also qualify for parole include caregivers of a disabled or ill relative, and immediate relatives whose spouse or child have submitted an application for permanent residency that is under processing. Always check with USCIS or an attorney for the facts. 

If H.R. 1466 is passed, it will not be before November 27, 2011. I believe that it still has to be reviewed by the Judiciary Committee before it even makes it to the House Floor for a vote. It would then have to be acted upon in the Senate, where hopefully it would be amended to include ALL legal, long-term foreign resident workers and provide an adequate status -permanent residency- so those workers with jobs could stay and those without could have the choice to return to homelands or travel to the mainland to seek employment.

Perhaps after November 27, 2011 the USCIS will also grant parole to long-term residents who have children under 21 (whether the children are U.S. citizens or foreign-born), to those who have no home to return to, and other humanitarian reasons. But we do not know if this will happen.

Tomorrow I will meet up with Rabby in DC to urge members of Congress and officials within the Obama Administration to act quickly to do right by the legal, long-term foreign contract workers. Look for updates here. 

If you are a foreign worker seek assistance from USCIS or a qualified attorney concerning questions about visas, status or parole.


Anonymous said...

Mam Wendy,I will Pray for you and Rabby, that the Holy Spirit will guide you guys and touch the heart of the congressmen to do right and save the lives of long term alien workers.

Anonymous said...

Please go on and on.I don't know what will happen: some Long-term workers'only home is in CNMI, where to go?

Anonymous said...

But remember "Thy will be done."

The "right thing" may very well be for you to return to your native homeland and continue to contribute your service to humankind back there.


Anonymous said...

2;53 AM
That is so true that Thy will be done. And what can you do if his will is to answer his children's prayers and will let many long term workers stay here to render service to you? It may also be his will to make us go home to our country and that is not for you to say that is the "right thing" because you do not know his will and thoughts. God sees your heart and knows every single thought you have for the people who are not given JUSTICE.
Soon and somewhere in this imperfect world, you will learn pain because you are as human and temporary as we are. Goodbye brother and thank you.

Anonymous said...

wendy, first I think a good analogy would be how you came out here as a teacher on a contract. At no time did you think it would lead to living here permenantly as you had a contract and whether or not that contract was renewed or not it was for a set period. You may have lived here for a while but you went back to your "home". You state some have been here "years or decades" same as the stateside teachers that come here....none of them expected to be allowed to stay here... I think of it as the same for CWs whether from the states or the PI... AS to these people "helping" fill out applications for others....the Feds don't play games. fill something out for someone and they sign it stating all the info is true....turns out it isn't and someone can go to jail. Look at all the articles lately, the feds are prosecuting immigration fraud which includes lying on forms. wheter well intentioned or not it isn't going to help just makes things worse........

Wendy Doromal said...

6:49 I did not originally go to the CNMI on a contract. You obviously do not know why we left. It was because of harassment, non-prosecuted criminal assaults, threats to our lives and other garbage that my husband, children and I suffered because of our advocacy work. Any U. S. citizen such as myself could and may expect to "stay" wherever they moved on U.S. soil. Still waiting for the feds to prosecute the criminal employers who blatantly STOLE wages from foreign workers.

Anonymous said...

The CNMI government likes the two year contracts because they do not want mainlanders to arrive and form voting blocs to threaten local political control.

Who had the idea for non-residents without jobs to go fill out forms as USCIS? I personally don't think that was a good idea. As I posted previously, ICE is lazy, and they normally do not go out looking for people....unless you drop paperwork in their hands to find you.

Anonymous said...

This was an interesting comment from Captain on the MV page:

"I just have an American friend who's "I permit" was revoked and was told to leave the Phil. because he had no visible means of support. When he came he got married and had a rather large nest egg. Now, after a long illness. (now is good) money is all gone and though his wife works (400 peso a day) and they live with her family, her earnings are considered not enough to support them. He is not allowed to work in a job that competes with indigenous workers there) (even if he could find a job) He has no family in the US and also has kids in the Phil.. So much for compassion from other foreign countries. If the Phil. Govt. pays his repatriation to US he will never be allowed back into the Phil. The US Embassy will only help him contact any family for help. But no money or ticket back. So much for compassion from US Govt. This is now the reality here in the NMI and the 11th hour, best those that may be affected be prepared. Under the original CW contracts from the beginning, the workers where originally required to return to their countries after so many years. It was not meant for them to become permanent residents in the NMI. (same as US Cit. that come on 2 yr contracts) It was these greedy elected along with the private sector that kept "modifying" the Regs to suit their own pockets and abuse these workers. Thus we have the outcome now. It is too bad, but it is reality. If world economy was better, than things may have been different for the jobless and for all."