CNMI Foreign Worker News

January 11, 2012

The CNMI NAP Office saw long lines as hundreds of food stamp clients tried to collect checks.

Hundreds of foreign workers worry about feeding their U.S. citizen children since the CNMI NAP Office changed the policy requiring that foreign workers produce CW permits or applications in order to collect checks. Of course, most of the workers do not yet have the permits in their hands since the applications are still in the processing stage. Additionally, foreign workers do not petition for CW permits, their employers do. Many more foreign workers have not been petitioned for the CW permits, but have applied for humanitarian parole or other visas.

The NAP Office seems to have adopted the discriminatory Fitial Administration’s stance aimed at eliminating foreign workers and their families from the CNMI. Starving them out may be their latest tactic. The AG released a statement making it clear that he wanted U.S. citizen families to receive the food stamps before qualifying U.S. citizen children with foreign worker parents received theirs. (See the previous post.)

The CNMI NAP Office receives a block grant from the USDA. The USDAwebsite states:
“In the CNMI, 30 percent of the assistance benefits are earmarked for the purchase of local commodities (food and nonfood items such as fishing equipment, garden supplies and livestock). This policy provides work incentives to develop self-sufficiency, and stimulates economic development and local food production.”
While the NAP Office  has the authority to establish policies for identification, they cannot establish discriminatory policies, as stated in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.

The Saipan Tribune reported:
"A mother of three children who has been getting food stamps since 1998 said she is deeply saddened by the situation of some of her friends and acquaintances who continue to be barred from getting the assistance they need because of the new requirement.

She disclosed that since the CW receipt or permit was included among the NAP requirements, many foreign-born parents of U.S. citizen children have opted not to avail of the assistance for fear that they will be referred by the local agency to the federal government. These parents are now considered out of status."
The USDA website states:
In USDA programs, discrimination is prohibited on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, familial status, disability, limited English proficiency, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from a public assistance program. In programs that receive Federal financial assistance from USDA, discrimination is prohibited on the bases of race, color, religious creed, sex, political beliefs, age, disability, national origin, or limited English proficiency. (Not all bases apply to all programs.) Reprisal is prohibited based on prior civil rights activity. The ASCR, through the Office of Adjudication, investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination in programs operated or assisted by USDA.

To file a program discrimination complaint write a letter to:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Director, Office of Adjudication
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410 
Include the following in your complaint letter:

Your name, address and telephone number.

The name, address, and telephone number of your attorney or authorized representative, if you are represented.

The basis of your complaint. The basis is what you believe was the motivating factor for the discrimination. For example, you may believe you were treated differently because of your race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, familial/parental status, disability, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from a public assistance program. (Not all bases apply to all programs).

The date(s) that the incident(s) you are reporting as discrimination occurred. Please note that we cannot accept a complaint about an incident that took place more than 180 days prior to the filing of the complaint. If the discrimination occurred more than 180 days prior to filing your complaint, you may request a waiver of the filing requirement. (See waiver information below.)

The name of the individual(s) or entity you believe discriminated against you and the agency or recipient that employs that/those individual(s).

The issue(s) of your complaint. The issue is a description of what happened, or the action that was taken by the individual(s) or agency that discriminated against you, resulting in some harm. Explain as clearly as possible what happened, why you believe it happened, and how you were discriminated against. Please include how other persons were treated differently from you, if applicable. If you were denied a benefit or service, please provide a copy of the denial letter. If you have documents to support the events you are reporting, provide a copy of the supporting documents.

Judge Clarence Wagner, a Honolulu Immigration Judge, directed Ali Nawaz and his brothers Omar and Hassan to fill out U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-589 which is an application for asylum and withdrawal of removal under the Convention Against Torture Treaty.

The Marianas Variety reported:
Represented by attorney Janet King, the Nawaz brothers separately told the court about the conflict between the clans of their father and their mother who is in Pakistan. They said they haven’t practiced Islam.

The Nawaz siblings, now in their early 20s, came to the island in 1998. They finished high school in the commonwealth.

Khalid Nawaz, the respondents’ father who is also on Saipan, was earlier determined by Wagner as a removable alien.

Khalid was also told by Wagner to fill out Form I-589. Khalid is married to a Palauan and has been living on Saipan since 1991.

Khalid said he hasn’t practiced Islam, and he fears this would “impact his return to Pakistan.”

Wagner will continue the removal proceedings tomorrow, which is also the deadline for Khalid to submit his required Form I-589.
Form I-589 can be found here. The USCIS states:
To apply for asylum in the United States and for withholding of removal (formerly called "withholding of deportation"). You may file for asylum if you are physically in the United States and you are not a United States citizen.
For years Attorney Bruce Jorgensen stated that aliens in the CNMI should be eligible for such asylum. Read his statement here and some past news articles here.

Sensitivity Training
DHS will be implementing sensitivity training for Customs and Border Protection officers in response to lawmakers' complaints that tourists were treated rudely at the Saipan Airport during the visitor's processing experience. Of course, it goes without saying that every client and customer of a government office deserves to be treated professionally and with respect.

Perhaps lawmakers will also push for cultural sensitivity training at CNMI offices. Foreign workers have complained of disrespect and rudeness at the NAP, Social Security and Head Start Offices to name a few.


Anonymous said...

aliens in the CNMI CANNOT apply for asylum until 2015. Is what you are advocating is that aliens volunteer to go into deportation proceedings and wait until they are found deportatble? Then once they are found deportable they should file the 589 for withholding of that order? the bottom line is they will have been found to have no status in the U.S. if withholding is denied by the judge they will have to leave. even if he grants withholding they are still found to be deportable and have no status. they cannot get a status as they we found deportable. this is dangerous advice based on the very low numbers of withholding being granted nationwide.....

Wendy Doromal said...

7:15 Did I say I advocate applying for asylum? No, I said that AN IMMIGRATION JUDGE ADVISED AN ALIEN IN THE CNMI IMMIGRATION COURT TO APPLY. (Please re-read.) I would not 'advise" anyone facing deportations procedures because I am not an attorney. I pointed out what the judge said. I find it interesting since this is an ongoing argument. I am certain anyone facing deportation will listen to their attorney and/or judge.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely correct! And for me it's the local gov't offices here that need to get this sensitivity training, not the CBP! I believe they're well trained and know what they're doing. The safety of people here must be their top priority. They have to be extra careful with the tourists. Maybe these lawmakers are just trying to find ways to get back control of such office or there's pressure coming from saiTAN! Business is business, no matter what!

Green Cards for All! said...

Hi Wendy,

There is a little bit of confusion here because the same application (Form I-589) is used to apply for both asylum in the United States and for withholding of removal (formerly called “withholding of deportation”).

Asylum most assuredly does not apply in the CNMI during the Transition Period (ending at the end of the day on Wednesday, 31 December 2014). Consolidated Natural Resources Act (CNRA), Pub. L. 110-229, § 702(a), ‘§ 6(a)(7)’, 122 Stat. 754, 856, codified at 48 U.S.C. § 1806(a)(7).

Withholding of removal came into force in the CNMI with the establishment of federal immigration law on the Transition Progarm Effective Date (TPED) (popularly known as Federalization Day or “F-Day”), Saturday, 28 November 2009. See Consolidated Natural Resources Act (CNRA), Pub. L. 110-229, § 702(a), ‘§ 6(a)(1) & (3)’, 122 Stat. 754, 854-55, codified at 48 U.S.C. § 1806(a)(1) & (3).

In his unsuccessful lawsuits of 1999 to 2003, Bruce Lee Jorgensen sought judicial imposition of these provisions in the CNMI, to no avail. Eventually the CNRA was enacted on Thursday, 8 May 2008. So now, by Act of Congress, withholding of removal has applied in the CNMI since F-Day, Saturday, 28 November 2009, and asylum will apply on Thursday, 1 January 2015, unless expressly postponed further, perhaps in connection with an extension of the Transition Period.

Withholding of removal is a poor strategy to remain because of its “last ditch” nature. If you lose, you are gone.

Wendy Doromal said...

Hi Green Cards

Thank you so much for explaining this!

Anonymous said...

Green Cards for All! said...

Withholding of removal is a poor strategy to remain because of its “last ditch” nature. If you lose, you are gone.

On the other hand, one must play the cards one is dealt. In these tough economic times with such a shrinkage of viable employers, it can be hard to find or keep a job.

If a foreign national worker has extraordinary circumstances, whether arising out of special needs children, threats of violence or worse back home, or whatever other conditions you and (hopefully) an attorney determine might justify withholding of removal, then as a matter of due process you are entitled to make that request, including appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

I would consider this course of action less a “strategy” than a “tactic”. One has to weigh all sorts of considerations, such as reasonable alternatives, likelihood of success, financial and opportunity cost, best use of one's time, and long term plans. Some people decide it is time to move on, others prefer to nurture their now deep roots in the CNMI. One size does not fit all.

Anonymous said...

People need to be knowlegable. This is not a "tactic" to avoid removal.........

Withholding of removal standard requires that it is more likely than not that the person would be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, political opinion in the country in question
•Harm feared must be on account of a protected ground.
•Not basis for adjustment to legal permanent resident status
•Family members may not be granted derivative status
•Grant prohibits only removal to country of risk, does not prohibit removal to non-risk country
•If the immigration judge finds that you have filed a fraudulent withholding application, not only will you have a deportation order that will be difficult to reverse on appeal, but you will never be able to apply for any other form of discretionary relief!
•So, if you knowingly submit a fraudulent application, you are subject to the harsh penalty of permanently becoming ineligible for other relief, regardless of sympathetic circumstances.

Anonymous said...

This is about money not fear of persecution.

The Chinese are playing the Falun Dafa card well and making it public. They can claim asylum based on evidence of persecution in China. The Pakistani man claiming that he will be persecuted because he doesn't practice Islam (haven't heard that one before)has a much weaker position than the Falan Dafa cult followers. It's possible that members of the Muslim community have alerted the Pakistani Taliban but this is highly unlikely. Pakistan is not a country where a working man wants to be right now, it's that simple.
As for fraud, all you have to do is look at the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who married Carolinian women for a green card. I heard that 10k was the price asking price but that may have dropped.

Anonymous said...

13 years on food stamps, how pathetic can you get, and no wonder America is falling apart. So her career is food stamp recipient.

Anonymous said...

One question I have is why do they continue to have babies in a horrible economy? I know many working families that decided against having more children due to dire economic circumstances.

Anonymous said...

The Bangladeshi with the Palauan wife could be deported to Palau.

As for why people have children, they are a net gain to humanity (and the family), not a loss. Sure, there is some economic burden, but it costs very little more (if any) to raise five children than four. One can hand down outgrown clothes, and add a bit more rice or taro to the soup. Especially in countries where there are weak social safety nets, grown children serve that role. Also, a bad economy does not last forever.

Ultimately it comes down to whether you are optimistic or pessimistic about the capability of humanity to solve its problems in the future. The pessimists (like those who practice abortion) are voting themselves into a minority view by their conduct. The optimists, who are fruitful and multiply, embrace a culture of life and will inherit the earth.

This is also consistent with major world religions such as Islam and Christianity.

Not all humanity shares the pessimistic, ulilitarian outlook of liberal secularists and those who embrace the culture of death. Each human life has inherent dignity and worth.

Anonymous said...

I have watched in many third world countries such as the Phil.and other Asian countries. The cost to have a child is less than $20(US)(less than $10(US)with a midwife at home). The cost of birth control is less than $1(US)a month (about $5 in NMI)and in many out areas it is free. Condoms are free.
The cost to raise a child is a lot more than has been stated here.
The poor people that least can afford them are the ones that keep having children and are also the ones that are living in tin shacks in squatter areas from generation to generation with no chance of ever getting out, just popping out babies.
In the case of a baby that has medical problems and the parents have no money. Places such as the Phil. the child will die or/and the mother as they will not be treated.
In the past, in the CNMI, the employers are the ones that were supposed to pay for the children of the CW.
Most did not pay and owe CHC the payment and the majority of CW (and residents)that have babies without any employer do not pay CHC.
It is not any drain on the parents as they will get Medicaid and food stamps for the children The same as with the US residents except that the US residents will also have the cost of the birth covered by Medicaid.(or just not pay)
In places like the US it is very expensive to have a baby, even with medical insurance.

BTW, years ago in Hawaii,(and other states) they limited the number of years a person(s) could stay on welfare, food stamps and other Govt. subsidies.
The parent(s) had to find a job and/or get training for a trade and go to work as they would be cut off completely.I think it was total of 5 years on benefits.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Janet King assisting the common people.

Anonymous said...

so is Ms. King doing this for free?? If not then how is the "assisting" the common people?

Anonymous said...

I have only one thing to say about immigration issues. It smells of hypocrisy. I know of no country that allows a U.S. citizen to work & live there without having the proper visas. When those same visas expire, I know of no country that allows U.S. citizens to apply for citizenship based on the argument of "having lived there". Until other countries enact reciprocal agreements that allow U.S. citizens to obtain or request the same rights their citizens request of the United States, "foreign guest workers" should return to "improve" their own nations shortcomings.

Anonymous said...

12:11, you are correct, in places such as the Phil. a foreigner is allowed to apply to become a Phil. Cit. after a specific amount of time.
The catch is, besides paying all of the fees,
you must be fluent in the Tagalog language.
You must be knowledgeable in it's customs.
Must be knowledgeable in it's history.
You must give up your citizenship in you own country.
You must also have an permanent income or sustainable business.
There are many more requirements similar to the US requirements for Cit.

For Foreigners at present you can get a "Balikbyan" visa if married to a Phil Cit. and you are accompanied in travel in and out of the country by that person. You must also leave at least once a year.
For a permanent resident certificate there are many categories with large amounts of money being deposited, with no interest or being available to the depositor, for categories such as Retiree or business.
Also Foreign business has to hire at least a minimum number of Phil. Cit.(15)
For a married person you are allowed to get a "probationary" visa, with a request and sponsorship from your spouse good for one year probationary and aplicable for a 5yr. permanent visa. Cost is about 6k peso plus 25k peso under the table.
You are also required to show a guaranteed income such as Social Security, Veterans Disability, or retirement.
A yearly 300 peso fees and registration is also required.

Green Cards for All! said...

Actually, the language requirement for Philippine citizenship is not Tagalog, but “one of the principal Philippine Languages”.

At a minimum, this would include Cebuano (Bisaya), Ilocano, Ilonggo and such.

Also, even if you “give up” your U.S. citizenship to obtain Philippine naturalization, the U.S. will still consider you their citizen, because they understand the “abandonment” of U.S. citizenship is a condition of obtaining Philippine citizenship and therefore not wholly voluntary. There is plenty of case law on this.

To truly renounce U.S. citizenship, there are formalities one has to go through at a U.S. embassy or consulate (which will not be accepted if the motive is tax evasion). Merely turning in your U.S. passport to a foreign country and signing their paperwork giving up all other allegiance will not do it.

This works with many other countries, too. When my mother turned in her passport to the then INS upon getting naturalized here, her homeland returned the passport to her several months later.

Great Britain fought a war over this issue in 1812. “Once an Englishman, always an Englishman!”