February 16, 2012
Important Announcement from USCIS about Biometrics
for People in the CNMI with Pending Applications
If you are in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and have an application pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), please ignore any notice from USCIS that says you have a biometrics appointment in Honolulu.
If you receive such a notice from USCIS, it is the result of a computer error. You do not go to Hawaii for biometrics. Your biometrics appointment will be in Saipan, Rota or Tinian, depending upon your work location. Scheduled biometrics for Saipan residents take place at our office in TSL Plaza. USCIS will be coming to Rota and Tinian to capture biometrics there.
If you receive a notice for a biometrics appointment in Honolulu, please send USCIS an email at
For more information about immigration in the CNMI you may:
- Visit www.uscis.gov/cnmi or www.uscis.gov/cw.
- Call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. This toll-free number has automated information and live assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During regular business hours, customers who need more information or assistance can be transferred to a customer-service representative. In the CNMI, live assistance is available Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. local time.
- Email us at CNMI.CSC@uscis.dhs.gov.
- Find the status of your case by using the “My Case Status” tool on www.uscis.gov.
- Make an appointment at www.uscis.gov to visit the USCIS Application Support Center at TSL Plaza in Saipan. Walk-ins will be seen after people with appointments.
In a press release Delegate Sablan announced, "I am introducing legislation that requires that on federally funded construction projects in my district, the Northern Mariana Islands, at least 60 percent of the workforce has to be U.S. workers."
The requirement would only apply to federally funded projects over $100,000 according to the press release. Of course, most are over $100,000.
Perhaps this would be a good concept if there were enough skilled U.S. workers in the CNMI to be hired for and successfully complete federally funded construction projects in the CNMI. But are there enough skilled US. citizen workers to fill this percentage? Are there enough U.S. citizen carpenters, masons, engineers, electricians, mechanics, plumbers and other skilled workers to make up a 60% requirement for all federally funded projects? Or would 30% to 50% of the workforce on a project be U.S. citizens managing the project and overseeing the remaining percentage of mostly foreign workers who would be charged with actually doing the majority of the work?
The press release stated:
“I know, too, that many of the local U.S. workers in the Marianas who want to work are being passed over for the jobs that do exist.Yes, something is not right. Probably part of what is not right is what the delegate failed to say in his remarks on the House floor. Are we to believe that he does not know how (or why) the CNMI has 11,000 workers? He does not know the history? He does not know that these foreign workers were legally recruited to fill jobs that the U.S. citizen lacked the skills for or the desire to fill?
“We have something like 11,000 foreign workers today in the Northern Marianas. One has to ask: How can we have so many foreign workers when there are U.S. workers unemployed who want to work.
“Something is not right.
He did not tell the members that the vast majority of the 11,000 foreign workers have resided legally in the CNMI for many years and decades. He did not say that the CNMI government renewed these foreign workers year after year after year ,while at the same time recruiting and bringing in more foreign workers. He did not reveal that corrupt CNMI government officials offered locals (U.S. citizens) jobs in the government in exchange for votes – jobs where they earned a big salary for doing nothing so that many never learned the skills needed to work in the private sector. He did not tell them that the CNMI minimum wage is so low that many U.S. citizens shun the private sector jobs and many have left for the mainland in search of jobs with decent salaries. He did not tell them that the foreign workers have contributed years of hard work to build the CNMI economy. He did not say that they have families, many with children, and no opportunities in their homelands that they left so many years ago. He did not say that the CNMI has become the home for the foreign workers -the de facto citizens.
Perhaps the money that USCIS recently released to the CNMI will be wisely spent to train U.S. citizens to gain the skills needed to fill the private sector jobs that foreign workers now hold. Maybe the money won't be misspent as has been the rule with other federal funds. Maybe there will be enough U.S. citizen workers to fill the 60% proposed quota for federally funded construction projects. Still, I do not see that happening in 2012 or anytime soon.