Sablan's Request to DHS Excludes 12,000 Legal Foreign Workers

November 21, 2011

While the legal, long-term foreign workers are united in requesting that DHS grant parole to ALL of the legal foreign workers, Congressman Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan continues to request that only 1/4 of the estimated legal foreign workers be considered for any protection.

HR 1466, the bill that Sablan introduced in April 2011 did not pass the U.S. House in time to bring relief to any of the foreign workers or other CNMI nonresidents who he included in the legislation.  The bill contains discriminatory and un-American provisions that mirror the post-Civil War Black Codes and totally excluded any legal foreign worker without a U.S. citizen spouse or child or the vast majority of the legal, long-term foreign workers.

Meanwhile foreign workers continue to speak out about their criminal employers who stole wages from them and have yet to pay them. From the Saipan Tribune:
Bernard de Guzman, who lost his job on Oct. 6 as a gas attendant, said he mailed his parole request with USCIS only yesterday morning.

“I hope they will grant me parole by Nov. 27 or 28. I would still like to continue looking for a job here; I just need more time. I just lost my job,” said the worker, who has three children in the Philippines. He said his eldest child wasn't able to enroll in second year college because he couldn't afford it at this time when he is jobless. His two other children are in high school.

De Guzman added that a previous employer still owes him $6,000 to $7,000 in back wages for hours worked from 2008 to 2010. “I have a pending labor case,” he said.
Many of the foreign workers were cheated by their employers and are still waiting to be paid. Foreign workers are owed money for back wages, overtime wages, illegal deductions, medical fees, or permit fees that employers charged them for illegally. Many also complain that the CNMI government has failed to give them their past stimulus checks and /or tax refunds.

With the disclosure yesterday that only 1,154 foreign workers have been petitioned for CW visas as of November 17, 2011, a mere ten days before the deadline, foreign workers have reason to be very concerned.

Governor Fitial was interviewed by KSPN2 yesterday about the humanitarian crisis of the foreign workers with families and U.S. citizen children. His response:
"That's their call.They know the situation in which they are in. Right? So that's their call. I don't want them to be blaming the government because they'll be separated. Don't separate. Just bring your kids home."
Perhaps the governor would like to ask the employers that owe back wages to the foreign workers to pay them. Why doesn't he investigate how many foreign workers are owed tax refunds and stimulus checks by the CNMI government?

The governor also threatened to sue the federal government if the USCIS continues to grant parole to unemployed alien workers.  There are really no words...


Anonymous said...

Sablan needs to read the US Constitution. He asks the foreign workers why they rally. FIRST AMENDMENT CONGRESSMAN?

Anonymous said...

That's why his back hurts him so much! That's karma! Wish him well and it doesn't work. Depress other, it will bounce back. It's karma. He'll be sicker each day, that's how karma works! This governor has no moral compassion, he's someone with his own world revolves around him. REally bad for CNMI to deal with him for a much longer time.

There's a big chance one day he will be in our country again, he should be ready to catch the spoiled eggs we'll throw at his face!

the teacher said...

I hate hearing such awful stories of non-payment and abuse. But I do have a can someone be owed money from the same employer over a three year period? I mean this sincerely, not in a sarcastic manner; so does this mean a person wasn't paid or was shorted in 2008 and was still working for the same employer without pay two years later? How can that happen? Rota Hotel pulled the same cr%p over the last year but why didn't anyone scream about it and stop working long before they closed?

And on another note, I don't believe in karma anymore than I believe in the Tooth Fairy, so keeping the story to the facts, HR-1466 will help many US citizen children and their relatives so I applaud Kilili for his work on it. He was the most progressive candidate running for that office and only Democrat. No other candidates here supports that humanitarian bill. It should not be called an immigration bill, it is humanitarian, regional only, and that is why it may have some chance passing. There is no immigration bills passing the US Congress anytime soon that grants green cards for anyone...that shouldn't be blamed on our House Rep. and it's not my fault either. An immigration bill (HR-1466 is humanitarian) wouldn't be heard on the House floor, wouldn't pass if it was introduced, and wouldn't be supported by 1% of the citizens in the CNMI. I have discussed this with many many citizens here and only three citizens (and I can recite their names) have told me they support green cards/citizenship for employed guest workers aliens, I and can't recall a single citizen telling me they supported status for unemployed or self employed aliens. Without HR-1466, many great kids will face serious issues. And without the CW permit that so many oppose, there is no other opportunity to work here authorized by Congress.

Anonymous said...

Wendy here is a good news trend out of Alabama that we can hope for here in the CNMI with regard to our sky high unemployment rate.. The good thing is CRNA is a Fed law and the DOJ is defending it unlike the Alabama law. This is the fourth straight month that unemployment rates went down. The law was enacted in June, four months ago......

Lawmaker credits immigration law with drop in unemployment.

Shelby County’s unemployment rate dropped by more than half a percentage point in October.

The county’s October rate was 6.1 percent, down from September’s rate of 6.8 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate in October was 9.3 percent, also a big drop from the state rate of 9.8 percent in September.

This is the fourth consecutive month Alabama’s unemployment rate has decreased, according to a Alabama Department of Industrial Relations press release.

“The drop in Alabama’s unemployment rate is certainly good news for our state,” said Gov. Robert Bentley in the release. “While we are still a long way from reaching full employment, October’s decline shows positive momentum for our state as we continue our mission to put Alabamians back to work.”

Anonymous said...

Fitial and Kilili do not have HEART therefore they are not deserving to serve. Do they think serving own's voters and disregarding the other human in needs are worhty? retribution to them will come soon... soon... soon... sooner.

Anonymous said...

Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma

Wendy Doromal said...

Teacher, Ron 12:41: You know that desperate workers hang on to hope when their cheating employers say, “Next week I’ll pay you.” Then it is, “Next month.” Then it is, “Next year.” When a person has no other job and no way to pay for airfare, they will take what little they are given with the hope that they will get it all someday. It is wrong to shift blame to victims, whether it is a rape case, human trafficking case or wage theft case. Talk to the workers if you want a deeper understanding.

Kilili is not a humanitarian by any means. He is a politician who wants to get re-elected. Humanitarians care about ALL people. Humanitarians base their actions on what is best for ALL concerned, not those who can benefit their own agendas. He angrily told me when I asked him what he would say to the 12,000 LEGAL, foreign workers that he callously left out of his bill, “GO HOME!” Those are not the words of a humanitarian. He reportedly threatened a worker leader about not "messing with his bill." (In MUCH stronger language not befitting a member of Congress.) Those are not the words of a humanitarian.

What party he belongs to is irrelevant. What he does and says is.

I care about the foreign workers with U.S citizen children AND equally about those who have foreign-born children, and those with none. A humanitarian does not view people by their place of birth (which is an accident, not a choice) or by where children were born, who a person is married to, whether a person is even married or not. A humanitarian is fair. This bill is NOT fair. It is cruel to those left out and cruel to those included as it continues disenfranchisement and restricted travel for the 4,000 it includes. No other place on U.S. soil would anyone support this inferior legislation. Would the Hispanic or Asian Caucus members support this for the mainland undocumented immigrants? Hell no. They support a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented aliens! They are truly hypocrites who need to answer for their dual positions. (They are also cowards who won’t, but their position will be recorded in history.)

The CNMI wants it both ways. It wants federal funds equal to what the states get (food stamps, justice programs etc. paid for by U.S taxpayers as CNMI citizens do not pay federal taxes) Yet it also wants to be “special” where guest workers are concerned. The proposed “special” new CNMI-only immigration classification is an example. It is un-American. It is wrong.

HR 1466 IS AN IMMIGRATION BILL. It would create a new CNMI-only status under the INA. It addresses immigration and is dangerous. It sets a precedent that other states and territories could follow. Do you really want to see Arizona-only or Alabama-only bills? I don’t. The INA is a federal law. The CNMI is under the INA. It was not the intent of PL 110-229 to create a new immigration category but for the CNMI to conform.

Your survey is not surprising. There is a two-tiered society in the CNMI and the residents want to keep their good thing going on the backs of the foreign workers –to keep them disenfranchised, voiceless. Citizens do not decide WHO gets immigration status. I was not asked if I wanted the residents of the CNMI to become part of the American family. The intent of PL 110-229 should be followed.

With HR 1466 as it stands, a great many children would be forced to leave because they were not born on U.S. soil. There are over 500 foreign born children in the CNMI and they matter equally. You are a teacher. Do you differentiate between where your students were born or do you treat all students equally? Why do you support unequal treatment, as written in this bill?

I support all of the legal foreign workers not just 4,000. I support FAIR AND EQUAL treatment for all. There are thousands of unemployed foreign workers with U.S. citizen children. Thankfully, most applied for parole. There are thousands among the 12,000 who WERE and ARE employed and their employers did not apply for CW visas for them. They are human too.

Wendy Doromal said...

7:38 Yes, I heard about that and there is a debate here as to whether that is accurate information. One commenter on the story wrote:
"Look at the numbers behind the rate. Unemployment is actually HIGHER than this time last year, and the rate went down MTM due to people leaving the labor force, not because more people went to work doing jobs that undocumented workers were doing."

As for the CNMI, if only 1,154 CW visas were processed and there are not enough U.S. citizens to fill the jobs that were once filled by un-petitioned foreign workers not only will the unemployment rate drop, but the economy will crash as businesses close their doors.

Anonymous said...

I once supported Kilili, but after this debacle, never again. He's a typical NMI politician out for the money and power. I'm married to a contract worker but I feel for all of the foreign workers here. My God, some have lived here longer than I have and certainly longer than the young voters! I am horrified and embarrassed by some comments here and on the MV site. We live in a society devoid of compassion, empathy and concern for our fellow human beings. There are no sound reasons to defend this faulty immigration bill or to support the other injustices that so many residents in the NMI ignore every single day. Wendy, I am in awe of your stamina and courage in answering commenters who support unequal rights!

Wendy Doromal said...

11:56 Thank you, for the comment. As far as stamina, I try. Actually, I delete many of the most offensive and anti-worker comments. I am thinking of closing this site to invited readers only after the end of the year. If I do individuals will have to request to be invited to the blog.

Anonymous said...

what will happen to all workers ?
where r u president of usa? is this the human right/freedom law to abuse all legal cnmi foreign workers? where is the humanity on your soil? why are you so silent mr.obama ? cnmi is nothing for you to take right action.your congress are so selfish they totally question is why are you so silent?
please act now soon as a possible if you are true president. amen

Anonymous said...

his back hurts because of chinese massage....he abuse lost of young alien women.governer also involve in human trafficking by wilitan chinese mafiya.they are sucksssssssss.governer wife was worked for to sale her body as a waitress.

Anonymous said...

Seriously this is really sad, even a friend of mine recently lose her job becasue she was talking her own language in which was not directly to a local patron who falsely accuse that the worker was harrasing her, the complaint somehow when direct to the management and they decided to just let her go just like that? This worker had claim that she tried to explain her side but she was not even allowed to be heard.I felt sorry because this happen after the CW was being process.
Im just curious, can. Someone get terminated for speaking their language at the worksite? Any advise?

Wendy Doromal said...

2:50 She can file a complaint with the EEOC.

Wendy Doromal said...

12:45 Typical waitresses are not "selling their bodies" and unless you have evidence, I think this is an unfounded and malicious attack on the governor's wife.

the teacher said...

"2:50 She can file a complaint with the EEOC."

I didn't have much luck with EEOC when I was terminated without cause on the 6th day of school. I learned that we are covered by the Hawaii office that informed me they weren't accepting cases in the CNMI at that time. The ACLU will not accept a case here as they claim to have no funding for our region. I also understand they would accept citizens first although that doesn't seem right and may not be true.

Wendy Doromal said...

Hi Ron: Wow, can EEOC decide not "to accept" cases from the CNMI? I am pretty sure that is their job. Here is a link to an EEOC ONLINE FORM You must print it, complete it and send it to the nearest office According to the EEOC it is Hawaii:

Location: 300 Ala Moana Blvd
Room 7-127
P.O. Box 50082
Honolulu, HI 96850-0051
Phone: 1-800-669-4000
Fax: 808-541-3390
TTY: 1-800-669-6820
Director: Timothy Riera
Regional Attorney:
Anna Y. Park

The Los Angeles Office has jurisdiction over that office. If they tell you they are not accepting applications, I would report it to the LA Office.

Location: Roybal Federal Building
255 East Temple St., 4th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: 1-800-669-4000
Fax: 213-894-1118
TTY: 1-800-669-6820
Director: Olophius E. Perry
Regional Attorney:
Anna Y. Park

I also have tried to get the ACLU involved and I got the same response that you did. But the EEOC and US Department of Labor must do their jobs. I would like to see the USDOL and EEOC have fully staffed offices and hefty budgets in the CNMI. Enough with the discrimination, wage theft and labor abuses.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendy,thank you for sharing the link and form.I believe she does have a case.