June 17, 2012
We have heard all of the unsound arguments and pathetic excuses for not granting the legal, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI status: "The Republicans are against immigration reform."; "The Republicans would consider it amnesty."; "The people of the CNMI don't want them to have rights."; "The leaders want to maintain the status quo and the two-tiered system."; Congress is gridlocked." and "If they are granted status they will leave and who would fill their positions?" The truth is that granting permanent residency to the long-term (5 or more years) foreign workers is, as President Obama said, of the undocumented DREAMers, "the right thing to do."
President Obama took the bold initiative of providing temporary reprieve to qualifying undocumented (illegal) young people because the U.S. Congress has failed to act on the DREAM Act or any other comprehensive immigration reform. For the last few months Americans have been bombarded with media stories about outstanding youth who face deportation – a high school valedictorian, a college student who came to the U.S. when she was 20 months old, and other successful young people who were threatened with deportation or actually deported. In all of the cases the parents, not the child, made the decision to bring or keep their child illegally to the U.S.
These stories have touched the hearts of the American people, many of whom have rallied behind the DREAMers. We must bring the stories of the distant foreign workers of the CNMI to the American people also. These stories are equally compelling, inspiring and touching.
As the President noted of the DREAMers that they do not pose a threat to national security and they are model citizens. The same can be said, and more, for the legal, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI – they are model citizens and have dedicated themselves to serving as outstanding workers and community members in the CNMI. Granting them status is the right thing to do.
The members of the U.S. Congress must put politics and games aside to act now before anymore legal, long-term foreign workers fall through the cracks. Temporary emergency solutions to fix the problems are like band aids on a hemorrhage. Everyone knows that legislation is critically needed and long overdue. We must work together now to convince members of Congress to do the right thing.
It is an opportune time to bring this issue that is unknown to most Americans to the forefront and to rally behind Congressional champions to introduce legislation that will grant permanent residency status. It makes no sense to wait for the right time to do the right thing. The only right time to do the right thing is always now.
(Read the text of the President's remarks here.)
W. L. Doromal ©2012