Foreign Worker News

November 29, 2011

Unemployed Aliens
It seems that some people who usually disagree on most things are in agreement on one thing in the debate about status for the legal foreign workers of the CNMI. They agree that unemployed foreign workers should not be kept in the CNMI. While some, including Governor Fitial, suggest that they must depart to their places of origin, others recognize that they must first be paid the thousands of dollars in back wages that is owed to them. Senate staffer Allen Stayman stated this on KSPN News last evening saying that the cheated foreign workers should be made whole before being repatriation is considered.

The workers are owed more than just back wages; many are also owed tax rebates and some still have not received long overdue stimulus checks from the CNMI Government. They need to be paid all of the money that is owed to them before anyone suggests repatriation, removal or deportation.

The governor wants all unemployed aliens to leave the CNMI. He doesn't care if they have a U.S. citizen child who needs them, if they are owed wages or CNMI tax rebates, if they have humanitarian concerns, or if they have worked in the CNMI for decades and have no other "home" to return to.  The decision of USCIS to allow certain categories of aliens covered in Sablan's bill, HR 1466, to apply for parole seems to have enraged the heartless governor.  The bill itself does not address the unemployment of aliens or the fact that some of the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and other categories of alien that are covered by the bill are currently unemployed. It is just an attempt to keep 1/4 of the total number of legal, long-term foreign workers, those with U.S. citizen relatives, in the CNMI until they become permanent residents after being petitioned by their U.S. citizen relatives or after five years of hanging on with or without employment.

The fact that a bill would permit unemployed aliens who do not qualify for food stamps, welfare or any local assistance of any kind to try to survive until permanent residency status is established is not compassionate or humane. How would chaining the foreign workers that are covered by the bill to the CNMI by restricting their travel as HR 1466 proposes to do, help the CNMI economy or the foreign workers? The U.S. Congress should grant all of the legal, long-term foreign workers permanent residency status; insist that all of the legal, long-term foreign workers are paid their back wages, stimulus and rebate checks; and set them free. Free to stay in the CNMI if they have jobs, free to return to their home countries if they so desire, or free to leave to the U.S. to find jobs or open up their own businesses if they are unable to find employment in the CNMI.

More Money Please
Yesterday USCIS regional director David Gulick met with the governor, some CNMI legislators and members of the CNMI Strategic Economic Development Council. The Council is made up of Fitial cronies, and wealthy business owners.

Apparently Gulick stuck to an agenda of discussing the guest worker CW petitions and parole during the meeting. He stated that any person who would be eligible for parole would probably not be able to be employed for four months.

The CNMI officials are now asking for federal funds to help “offset problems with unemployed aliens.” Rep. Ray Palacios who was arrested for trafficking methamphetamine (ice) last month is out on bail and attended the meeting. He wants money from the U.S. government for jobless aliens to "make a big difference in this economy."

The Saipan Tribune quoted the lawmaker:
Palacios said if USCIS will allow jobless nonresidents to stay here for another year, the federal government might as well provide the commonwealth with a Compact-Impact-like funding.

Such funding, he added, will help the CNMI government “carry these burdens.”
What burden? The CNMI has no programs that assist any aliens in need. If any federal money is going to be given to "carry a burden" shouldn't the federal government give it directly to the workers rather than to the CNMI government? The CNMI government has never helped the foreign workers who live far below the federal poverty level. There are no local welfare programs and aliens do not qualify for federal programs such as food stamps or medicaid.

It was also revealed that as of November 23rd only about 2,700 foreign workers have been petitioned by employers for CW visas. This is less than 20 percent of the total estimated 16,000 foreign workers. This is incredibly unsettling.

Governor Fitial again ignorantly called HR 1466 an “amnesty bill.”  The proposed legislation only addresses the foreign workers who already can be petitioned by their immediate relatives now or in the future when their U.S. citizen children turn 21 and it excludes 3/4 of the legal, long-term foreign workers who do not have a U.S. citizen child or spouse. How is that amnesty?


Anonymous said...

The action by USCIS is allowing all categories under H.R. 1466 to apply for parole and the fact that Nov 27 has come and gone means that the argument for urgency to "protect" families no longer exists. Now there's a window to introduce legislation that includes every longterm alien.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mr. Gulick knew that he was talking to an ice dealer. Only the CNMI would have a drug dealer as a spokesperson. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

hahaha! more and more clowns are popping out! I am sure the Guv asked all his cronies to be with him in this meeting but they refused and only the guy agreed to attend the meeting thinking that he will be saved from his "ice" case.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong but I believe parents of foreign workers with children born in the CNMI are eligible for the federal funded WIC (Women, Infants and Children)food programs. This is some help.

Anonymous said...

Whether through incompetence or design, it appears the feds are trying to “starve out” the unemployed contract workers, so they will be compliant in moving on and abandoning their stolen wages.

“Federalization: You asked for it; you got it.”

Anonymous said...

Sure, get the WIC too along with the food stamps so the adults can eat. These programs are designed for children. No job, lets live off our kids.