News for Foreign Workers


Photo by Itos Feliciano ©2011
A large crowd of CNMI foreign workers gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil at OCCUPY USCIS. The foreign workers are asking for permanent residency for all of the 16,000 legal, long-term foreign workers.  With the November 27th deadline around the corner, foreign workers are increasing efforts to have their voices heard.

The delay of the release of the final rule for the U.S. CNMI-only transitional guest worker program, combined with the fact that the U.S. Congress failed to act on the DOI report that contained recommendations for foreign workers' status, has created uncertainty and extreme hardship for the the foreign workers and their families.

In other news, Kelvin Rodeo, a CNMI resident who is studying political science at Pasadena College in California, spoke about the plight of the CNMI foreign workers at an immigration forum last evening. His articulate and passionate speech detailed the humanitarian crisis of the legal, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI and their families. It was a call for action.

In his speech, Kelvin mentioned the foreign workers with U.S. children, and the 12,000 long-term workers left out of H.R. 1466. One of the most striking statements Kelvin shared was this one:
"And now after 5, 10, 15, 20 or more years of living in the CNMI; building the roads, the schools, the commercial buildings; taking care of the local resident's children; supporting the tourism industry by cleaning the hotel rooms, working in the restaurants, and working in the reception areas of hotels –now, after being the backbone of the CNMI for all this time– the foreign workers, both those with and without families, face losing their legal status and ultimately face removal from the islands without even so much as a thank you from the islands."
You can listen to all of Kelvin's speech HERE. Kelvin is joined by friends at the college to bring awareness to the plight of the foreign workers and to appeal to U.S. officials to act to grant them status. Go Kelvin!

Thanks to Itos Feliciano for the photos of the candlelight vigil: