Foreign Worker News

October 21, 2011

PSS to be Affected by Exodus of Foreign Workers' Children?
At least one CNMI agency is responding in a proactive manner to the potential mass exodus of workers and their families.  Many foreign-born and U.S. citizen children are expected to be leaving the CNMI if their parents are unemployed,  do not have employers who will petition for CW or other U.S. visas for them, or if they do not have parole. The CNMI Public School system recognizes that the a large number of students are children of foreign workers and their exodus will impact the schools.

Federal funding is determined by student enrollment figures. According to 2011 data, 65% of the funding for PSS was from the federal government.

The reported student enrollment for 2010-2011 school year was 11,101. The same report stated that many alien children were enrolled in PSS schools, including: 238 Filipinos, 165 Koreans, 66 Chinese, and 19 Japanese.

An expected decline in enrollment will mean teacher and staff layoffs as less classrooms teachers and support staff will be needed. About 300 positions are federally funded.

The Tribune reported:

Education officials disclosed that the 47 personnel who would be affected by the expiration of umbrella permits are those with immediate relative status and majority of them are support staff. The matter was further discussed during the board's executive session.
The PSS has cafeteria workers and others who are foreign workers. Are they applying for CW visas for them or hoping to fill positions with U.S. residents?

Job Expo
The push to replace the foreign workers with U.S. workers is strong in the CNMI.  A successful Department of Commerce Job Expo was held with 900 job seekers attending. The expo was lauded by U.S. DOI Asst. Secretary Babauta and OIA Director Nik Pula.

A reported 30 employers participated in the job fair including: Hyatt Regency Saipan, Saipan World Resort, Aqua Resort Club, Hafa Adai Beach Hotel, Docomo, Moylan's Insurance, Triple J Enterprises, Star Marianas Inc., MCV Broadband, and Marianas Variety.

Perhaps equal time and funds should be devoted to addressing both of the major problems currently plaguing the CNMI –helping U.S. citizens find jobs and addressing the humanitarian crisis of the displaced foreign workers who have become de facto citizens. If the DOI can fund $1 million to find jobs for U.S. workers in the CNMI, shouldn't they also be able to fund positions for attorneys devoted to addressing labor complaints of foreign workers including wage theft? Shouldn't they also allocate funds to increasing staff for the CNMI -based offices of the U.S. Departments of Labor, Justice and the EEOC and F.B.I.? Maybe they could even encourage the Obama Administration to push for status as a humane solution.

What did the DOI do with the administrative orders that document $6.1 million in wage theft? Those of us who assisted in the collection expected action from the U.S. government, and not for the documents to merely collect dust. Now, more than ever, the foreign workers need the wages that were stolen from them. From all appearances, it looks like under the federal system, the violating employers will also be allowed to continue the practice of terminating cheated workers while being allowed to hire more workers to cheat. It also appears that under the federal system victims will be returned to homelands to their detriment, but much to the benefit of their criminal employers who will face no consequences as was the case under the CNMI system.


Anonymous said...

Not only that! All business establishments will be affected by the exit of alien workers,many stores and shop will shut down due to sudden decline of consumers.Domino effect thats what it is!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I'd been saying that over and over again,I wrote in the newspaper years ago. Let us see what's going to happen. Also, I would just like to remind all those people who are blaming people that are pro-Federal Take Over and who are saying "You asked for it you got it" that IF NOT FOR THE LOBBYING OF BEN FITIAL AND HIS PUPPIES, WE COULD HAVE BEEN IN THE BETTER POSITION NOW. THEY HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REMOVED THE "GRANDFATHERING" PROVISION. I also agree to one of the suggestions to stop working for a day. There's nothing more to lose, we've lost. However, it will only be successful if it will be done with at least 90% cooperation of the CW.

Anonymous said...

All of this should have been will all work out in the end those business that aren't needed will close those that should survive will. Maybe we will see the hundreds of small unsanitary stores close down. School classrooms will be smaller and more resources will be available for U.S. citizen and those foreign nationals who have a status. Why is this so wrong?? it has been coming and everyone should have made a plan....just like those who are going to get a CW visa better be thinking about 2014 when the CW goes heard it here first start planning now for when the CW program ends. Whining and suing because of failure to plan is not a defense that Federal law cares about. I am not being unsympathetic but it is what it is and whether like it or not Laws are Laws and are applied across the broad exceptions are made and those exceptions that are made have to be extreme cases...the arguments heard most often are not granted in the mainland and exceptions won't be made here..sorry but it is what it is and sorry if people didin't plan for this happening. It isn't the Feds fault or the U.S. citizens fault this writing has been on the wall since 2009 if not before....

Anonymous said...

I actually expect the opposite effect to happen to PSS. There are many CW's that will petition their foreign born children from abroad and already in the CNMI that will be allowed to attend CNMI public schools. I actually expect an increase in student enrollment at PSS and a decrease in private schools. I actually expect a few private schools and "colleges" to close soon.

Anonymous said...

It's been on the wall since Public Law 110-229 was enacted on 8 May 2008, but these issues were discussed since the bill was introduced in 2007.

messenger said...

News bites:

1. PSS will have more students, not less, due to CW realatives that can now enter and draw aid, and an huge increase from FAS

2. The CW numbers are in, not perfectly accurate because there is time, but the estimate is 12k CW permits and 6k no job.

3. At the end of first CW term workers and employers will get a new bombshell, that they must return to origin for 6 months just like H visa style

Wendy Doromal said...


CW relatives can now draw aid? How?

If CW annual contract workers have to leave for 6 months it is extremely unlikely that they or any new workers would return.

Green cards for all legal, longterm foreign workers would allow the CNMI to have the workers that are needed for a stable workforce. Those legal, long-term foreign workers without jobs (and it looks like the numbers are a drop in the bucket!) could be free to relocate where they can find jobs.

messenger said...

Wendy, CW workers may bring children and spouses to the NMI. The new SNAP program will allow workers and their children to qualify for food stamps based on income, and judging by the wage survey, they would all likely qualify. Many workers have spent years apart from their families and may now have economic incentative to reunite with them in the commonwealth. And the PSS numbers are going up, that is certain. Chalk another up for federalization. Nice work!

Wendy Doromal said...


Did Congress pass this legislation? I do not believe that it was passed and it may not pass, considering the current state of the U.S. economy. I absolutely support food for the hungry and I also support the CNMI residents paying their fair share of federal income taxes. Of course, if the legal, longterm foreign workers were given green cards those without jobs would be freed from the CNMI and could find jobs elsewhere to support their families without food stamps.

As far as the new law requiring that a CW exit for six months -that is a new CNMI law?