News From Washington, DC.

October 11, 2011

Rabby Syed, Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs Tony Babauta,
Wendy Doromal and Nousher Jahedi at the US DOI
©October 2011
Today Rabby and I had a very productive meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Interior's Insular Affairs Office. We discussed the need for legislation to address permanent residency status for all of the legal, long-term foreign resident workers.  We also stressed the urgent need to grant parole-in-place to every legal worker until the Congress takes appropriate action in response to the DOI Report and mandate from the CNRA.

Officials generously offered to try to set up meetings with personnel from other U.S. agencies for us.

We also visited congressional offices. One meeting was especially positive. We explained the looming November 27th deadline and the urgent need for parole-in-place until such time as permanent status for all legal, long-term foreign resident workers is established.

Later in the afternoon I received an email from the staffer stating that the CAPAC would be meeting tomorrow with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and these issues would be raised. We hope that she will hear the pleas of the foreign workers and their families.

In June 2011 I delivered letters to President Obama from myself and UWM President Rabby Syed. Both appealed for him to take administrative action to protect the 16,000 legal workers.

From my June 8, 2011 letter:
"Partisan politics and the debate over undocumented workers in the United States should not prevent action on implementing legislation to grant U.S. immigration status to the CNMI’s legal, long-term nonresident workers or delay taking necessary administrative action. While permanent residency with a pathway to U.S. citizenship is our goal, immediate protection is needed now. I urge you to take administrative action to grant the CNMI’s legal nonresident workers parole-in-place status, employment authorization, and eligibility to apply for employment based visas. This action is within your power and would provide protection and relief to 16,000 de-facto CNMI citizens, ensure family unity, and provide the stable workforce needed for businesses and investors to help speed
the CNMI’s economic recovery."
From Rabby's letter:
"On behalf of the United Workers Movement, I am writing to ask you to take administrative action to extend protections to the 16,000 legal aliens residing in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Until such time as a more permanent status is provided by the U.S. Congress, or by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Labor, please grant these legal aliens parole-in-place status with authorization to seek employment, and provide that parole-in-place status shall qualify them for employment-based visa applications."
It is not too late to act administratively to protect these 16,000 legal workers who have dedicated years of their lives to serving the Commonwealth.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wendy, Federal Law will be enforced here in the CNMI. Illegal aliens and those without jobs will be asked to leave. If they stay beyond the deadline they will be deemed illegal aliens and will get deported. What you and Rabby should do now is help the thousands prepare for the inevitable. Many are counting on YOU to somehow lobby for them. It is now time for you to write a letter on your blog telling them the truth: Time is running out. Prepare to depart willingly or not. Do this now.

the teacher said...

I am a sympathizer but the June letters haven’t changed the situation and I don’t want to get peoples hopes up for a miracle when I have no evidence whatsoever that any improved status is being considered by anyone. Support for it here from citizens is worse than low, it is nearly non-existent. I have only had a few (and I mean 3) citizens tell me they favored green cards for all. DHS has been thorough and crystal clear that unemployed persons are out of status next month and that the CW program for those with employers can not lead to permanent residence. DHS has repeatedly said unemployed persons can’t get parole in place. Parole in place would freeze unemployed person here with no hope for jobs, which could create a national emergency given our high unemployment and falling economy. With Kilili’s bill on the House floor awaiting a vote, it would seem unrealistic to expect a more inclusive program.

I attended a debate recently among some CNMI teachers and the topic was the Dream Act. I expected that most teachers supported it, but after hearing the opponent’s wrath and hearing the tone of the questions the judges fired, I am here to tell you that new residents residing in the CNMI from the lower 48 are mad, emotional, and very angry over the immigration issue. Local citizens are mild mannered over the topic compared to what I have heard from statesiders recently.

Green Cards for All! said...

Much remains to be done before the dream of world-wide free immigration for all humankind is achieved.

Will the CNMI be the first place on the planet to implement it?

Anonymous said...

1:34 Leave to go where? Their home is the CNMI. They have no money for tickets. Come out from behind the anonymous and stand up and tell them how to leave and where to go.

the teacher said...

noni 9:49 are you asking someone else to identify themselves...LOL?

I wasn't the 1:34 poster but I can answer your question. This case is about economics to most people, it is not emotional, moral, or crazy. Few Americans have sympathy on a person who has worked here all their life and can't afford a plane ticket. Did they remit their money abroad? Do they have a credit card?

America is a credit based economy and for a foreign national to bad mouth US policies with one breath while asking for something at the same time is...well, will not get the results you hoped for....or as Jack N. said in "As Good as it gets", "if your selling crazy, we are all stocked up here".

Anonymous said...

HUH...let say 8,000 out of 16,000 are jobless and need to be repatriated. Let us say that these people do not have the money. Let's face it, non-resident workers live from paycheck to paycheck just like the rest of the community. Let us do the computation in case foreign consular offices would not cough out airfares, 8,000 x $490.00 per person = $3,920,000.00. Will U.S. shoulder this amount or we'll just wait for Donald Trump to contribute the money? It is easy to say that you need to leave but reality is....it is easier said than done. Deportation court proceeding is from 6 months to nth months. Accept the fact that many of these jobless aliens will stay on island not only because they do not have money to buy their tickets but Morton memo would encourage them to do so. Wait, does CNMI has sufficient holding rooms for all of them in case they chose to stay and be illegals? Now U.S. needs to chose, be a liability or be a productive member of the community by granting a sort of half-cooked status. Just asking!

Green Cards for All! said...

Thousands of indigenous inhabitants of the CNMI have moved over the past decade to a new "home" in the U.S. mainland, despite having "nowhere to go" there.

It is certainly not unreasonable to expect the CNMI surplus non-immigrant workforce to do the same, to wherever they are legally permitted to move.

Unfortunately, federalization has severed the link between employers and former employees who got new jobs or were offered (but refused) tickets home when F-Day (28 November 2009) loomed.

Those who are unable to afford tickets back to their homelands for themselves and their minor U.S.-citizen children should be petitioning the country whose passport they hold or the U.S. government, or both, for assistance.

Governments need not pay retail for humanitarian air passage.

For instance, the Republic of the Philippines could deploy charter flights by Philippine Airlines to fly SPN-MNL, SPN-CEB, SPN-DGT, and SPN-DVO for the relief of its citizens stranded here.

Likewise, the U.S. Department of Defense could deploy C-141 flights by the U.S. Air Force to such cities as well as cities in China, with the approval of the People's Republic of China.

[The PRC is unlikely to pay for its own civilian aircraft to pick up people here because China is perfectly happy to let its citizens suffer here. However, through negotiation, it would probably accept U.S.-funded flights, whether military or civilian aircraft.]

Now that inhabitants (local and foreign alike) are coming to the realization that unemployed or under-employed life in the CNMI is a personal and professional dead-end, more and more guest workers seek to return home, either permanently or as a springboard to other parts of the world with greater economic opportunity.

Hence, the number one priority of such individuals, activists, and CNMI community leaders should be in obtaining airlift resources.

Kilili, please help us.

Free the CNMI Guest Workers!

Wendy Doromal said...

Green Cards

That is NOT my priority. Make it yours, if you want.

Anonymous said...

Teacher said,"America is a credit based economy and for a foreign national to bad mouth US policies with one breath while asking for something at the same time is...well, will not get the results you hoped for." Wake up. America deserves criticism. The CNMI has badmouthed the US for 30 years and gets rewarded with millions in grants. Freedom of speech is probably one of he only rights the OCWs have.

Teacher said, "Few Americans have sympathy on a person who has worked here all their life and can't afford a plane ticket. Did they remit their money abroad? Do they have a credit card?" The can't afford the plane ticket because their employers owe them wages. It's not your business where they remit their money. You want me to tell you where to spend your money, teacher? Credit card? They charge a plane ticket and have no f***ng job? Who recommends that and then also talks about economic matters? Go back to school, teacher.

Teacher said, "I attended a debate recently among some CNMI teachers and the topic was the Dream Act. I expected that most teachers supported it, but after hearing the opponent’s wrath and hearing the tone of the questions the judges fired, I am here to tell you that new residents residing in the CNMI from the lower 48 are mad, emotional, and very angry over the immigration issue. Local citizens are mild mannered over the topic compared to what I have heard from statesiders recently." Get off the rock, teacher. You have don't have got a clue what people think in the states. Do you really think that one debate points out the views of millions of Americans in the lower 48? Who exactly was this debate with anyway? Your getter more far out each time you write something.