More on Food Stamp Controversy

January 8, 2011

The Marianas Variety reports that the CNMI NAP office can require CW permits as a verification document for alien parents of U.S. citizen children who qualify for food stamps. That should not be the question. The question is can the NAP Office require only that particular document when in fact, most CW permits are in the application process and have not been issued to workers. Additionally, some aliens legally in the CNMI will not have CW permits, but will have other U.S. visas or parole. Can a passport or other document such a parole waiver be presented in order to collect the food stamps that the CNMI NAP Office has withheld from 100 or more foreign worker parents of U.S. citizen children? That is the question that needs to be answered. 

No federally funded program can have discriminatory requirements or practices towards clients. The CNMI NAP Office is requiring alien parents of U.S. citizen children to produce a document that they may not possess. They may have other documents of verification that could be used. 

Is the practice an attempt to discriminate? It appears so. The Attorney General indicated that he wanted "local" people to be first in line for social services programs. He stated
"Unemployed aliens crowd the food stamp rolls and when ceilings are reached, local U.S. citizens cannot receive aid as no new recipients can be added to the rolls. Distressed aliens who have been abused in illegal work situations, often by foreign employers, seek help. Private social service organizations run out of resources and are not available to assist local U.S. citizens."
Unemployed aliens may have been granted humanitarian or other parole and have a legal presence in the CNMI.  U.S. citizen children who are eligible for food stamps should receive them regardless of the race, nationality or status of the parents. The USDA needs to read the AG's statement and understand the entire process of the permits to ensure that no discrimination is taking place. I believe that it is and I do not want my tax dollars funding a discriminatory office.


Anonymous said...

This isn't newsworthy.

The Saipan Blogger said...

I thought foreigners were ineligible for assistance? How do they crowd the food stamp rolls?

Wendy Doromal said...

They don't qualify. This racist AG and Administration are targeting their innocent U.S. citizen children who do qualify.

TAGLISH said...

A deeper investigation is long overdue! Start it now!!!

Start with some local recipients that are not really qualified....but were able to get with the help of course of local e.g compare familyA - wife working at PSS, husband working at DEQ to familyB, both CW parents earning $5.05??

NAp requires check stubs....for familyA to qualify, they submit check stubs where they have smallest earning, how? take leave of absence from work or simply don't state income of the spouse, declaring separate household....etc!

To my fellow CWs, everyone knows that your $5.05/hour income is not enough to support your families. Most of you are applying only to augment your income. We know that it's our US citizen children's right and this is temporary until we get jobs to fully support them. We are self-reliant.

Please take this from me, take this as a challenge! Remember always why we are here, why are we still needed here because they can't stand on their own feet! They always need aid, grants, always begging for more!

We come to this island very self-sufficient, we never had grants or any aid. We came from poor countries but we're able to sustain our selves. We have finished our schools without any grants. We can survive on our own, so please pass it on to your own children. We are not dependent on grants or any aids!

Life is hard and it be harder for us soon, with patience and hardwork and faith in God, He will provide us everything that we need.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 5:20

It's newsworthy to Taglish and the foreign workers and their children who qualify for food stamps.

Anonymous said...

In order to receive food stamps in the US you MUST prove Citizenship. It's that simple. You MUST possess the required and proper documents for either your US Citizen child or yourself if you are qualified. Food Stamps are not an entitlement. Food Stamps are a gift from the US Taxpayers and at the discretion of the United States Government.

These parents of US Citizen children are not 'clients' of the US Government. They do crowd the food stamp rolls and exhaust the welfare system. Yes Wendy, most of the abuses are at the hands of Foreign owned businesses. Mainly Filipino and Chinese. I know that's really hard to believe but it is absolutely true.

It's not your money! said...

"Remember always why we are here, why are we still needed here because they can't stand on their own feet! They always need aid, grants, always begging for more!"

Taglish, this is offensive when it said about CW's and it is offensive when it is said about local people, too. Keep to the high ground, my friend. There is too much of this rhetoric as it is, and it poisons the discourse, which ought to be about policy, not race.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 1:17

The children prove citizenship, not the parents who are not eligible. The parents show ID or other papers. The children are U.S. citizens and should not be denied food stamps because of the race or nationality of their parents. The parents MUST go to the food stamp office in order to get the food stamps for their underage U.S. CITIZEN children, who, in the case of the CNMI are being punished because of the birth place of their parents. The parents can be made to show ID, but should the requirement be one that doesn't fit since in many cases the CW permits are not in their hands yet and their employers, not the employees, apply for them? Additionally, many of the parents do not have CW permits, but were given parole. They could show a driver's license, a passport or a variety of other identifying materials so the children could eat. Want to stop long lines at the food stamp office? Push for an increase in the minimum wage. Raise it to be a livable wage.

I agree that foreign-owned businesses cause much of the wage theft and I have written about that here many times. The Tinian Dynasty and Rota Hotel are two huge abusers, both are foreign-owned. However, remember that the CHC ripped off nurses and other employees. That was a government-owned operation at the time that the wage theft and nonpayment of housing allowances was committed. Hundreds of local individuals and businesses who hired maids, construction workers, security guards and others stole from the workers. It does not matter what the nationality of the abuser is; the business should be closed down or fined if abuses are being committed and the victims should ALWAYS be made whole.This has not happened and does not happen. If the CNMI government knows that illegal businesses exist, why aren't they closing them? While the Tinian Dynasty stole wages from the foreign workers at the same time this business paid the local hires. Such discriminatory practices increase the outrage and frustration.

Wendy Doromal said...

INYM: I understand Taglish's point in the context of the entire comment. There absolutely has been and is discrimination at the NAP and other federal offices. I wrote about it in both the 2007 and 2008 status reports. The U.S. government should investigate. They should have investigated years ago and there should be oversight of every program in the CNMI where federal money is involved. Racist policies often are overlooked when the target is the disenfranchised foreign workers who have no voice.

How long can people have their rights trampled, be bullied, be pushed around, be mocked, have wages stolen and be unjustly blamed for societal problems until they push back and demand justice, equality and an end to discriminatory policies? Is three decades long enough? When do people reach their breaking point and rise up? Even the most passive people will speak out when others harm their innocent children.

I understand what Taglish means. The foreign workers did not invade the CNMI. They were invited, they entered and stayed legally. They are there because there are not enough people to fill the jobs that they fill. On a whole, the majority of them have been treated poorly. Many are still owed thousands of dollars and the federal government has done nothing about that. There have been and are blatant civil rights abuses directed towards the entire group of foreign workers and the federal government has done nothing. Some foreign workers have been targets of criminal acts and neither the local or federal government prosecuted the criminals. The CNMI has produced an extremely volatile climate where people are pitted against each other and racism fans the flames of division in the two-tiered society of the haves and have nots. It could explode if it is not stopped now.

It is true that the CNMI government is always asking for more federal funds. Each year the requests grow larger, even as the CNMI government does absolutely nothing to raise local revenue! Even as people question the discrimination at the food stamp office and lament the plight of their U.S. citizen children there is a fight between the two top leaders in the CNMI over the program and a battle to win even more federal funds. Why wouldn't you expect people to express their rage at these policies and acts? Their children are hungry.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the USDOJ civil rights division investigating this? The policy is locals first and aliens to the end of the line. This is the same in Head Start. It's the kids that suffer.

Anonymous said...

The CNMI receives Federal funds regardless of whether they ask or not. A lot of anti-CNMI people tend to portray the CNMI as a beggar with their hand out. This is not the case and is a very naive way of looking at the issue. The US Government has a strategic interest in the Marianas and will continue to provide economic assistance. To put things into perspective, Pakistan receives a hundred times the Federal money that the CNMI does.

Wendy Doromal said...

Anonymous 11:11

The CNMI is a U.S. territory. It must follow guidelines concerning federal funds, as the USDA website states: "In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, a local office is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (Voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer."

Anonymous said...

discrimination on small kids,,common guys lanya its too much,,,locals are really attacking innocent foreign workers,,,,,now u will understand,,,hafa neeeeeee,,,godbless u all ,,,amen