Congress Must Act on Status for CNMI Foreign Workers

June 17, 2012

"We have always drawn strength from being a nation of immigrants, as well as a nation of laws, and that’s going to continue. And my hope is that Congress recognizes that and gets behind this effort." President Obama June 15, 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


Anonymous said...

My opinion regarding the DREAMERS is base on the young children of illegal immigrants on the US mainland, what about in the CNMI, long term foreign workers who contributed the local government and mostly being abused from crooked employers, victims of wage theft & etc. employers are not being prosecuted. Is there any possible way that victims of labor abuses be protected? I hope that President Obama will take into consideration to these long term foreign workers who spent more than half of their lives here on the Island of CNMI of what we call also our home.

Anonymous said...

Good timing to energize immigration debate. Now Republicans need to get with the program to get votes. God speed with your effort to get green cards, Mam Wendy!

Anonymous said...

The litmus test for a NMI worker is valid employment. A real job means employment in a temporary CW class. Everyone here knows most CWs now are bogus so there will not be any immigration moves anytime soon. The examples above are great but not as common here these days. One workers leader for example has illegally operated a tatoo parlor for decades paying Hans a yearly fee to sign for him. Another worker leader has never had a job and operates vending stands. Another worker leader claims to be an arctitect and engineer, neither of which are true by the way, and continues to rip off unsuspecting persons with scams, so this is who blanket amnesty would spare, and it isn't coming to the CNMI, and the real workers who are left should take their documentation in and file for a status improvement instead of a sham CW card. The abused enslaved workers were in the garment factories and most are gone. The highly skilled workers here are all gone unless it is nurses that arrived recently. all the qualified persons have gone and if status was improved they would all leave too. Kilili's bill was political only meant to pander to locals whose spouses needed upgrading and they are all too cheap to pay the fees, good luck with that bill passing.

Wendy Doromal said...

8:20 I have no clue where you get your information, but it seems that some is misinformation! Presently status improvement can be granted only to those foreign workers whose U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen child (after reaching age 21) petitions for them. Or to those with H1-B visas whose employers petition them after the proper time period and requirements are met.

I am unsure who you have been communicating with or meeting with in Washington, but the people that I have met with are in agreement that the foreign workers should be granted permanent residency. The sooner, the better before more fall through the cracks.

Anonymous said...

ANON 8:20

I know the "engineer" that you are referring to. There are many like him. Total fakers and cons. If any one of these scammers takes a job away from a US Citizen a new Federal lawsuit should be filed.

Anonymous said...

You yourself acknowledge the republican members of congress to be a likely stumbling point, when you note "the U.S. Congress has failed to act on the DREAM Act or any other comprehensive immigration reform". It's not because they haven't gotten around to it after all. It's because they won't entertain it, or anything close to it. That's just the climate we're in.

Wendy Doromal said...

1:01 Republicans are coming around. Rep David Rivera (R-FL) introduced STARS, a Republican version of the DREAM Act in the House and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is planning to introduce similar legislation in the Senate. They are not the only ones. If you have been reading this blog, you would know I also have said we must educate the members of Congress as to the history and present status of the LEGAL, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI. The foreign workers of the CNMI must not be compared to or lumped together with undocumented aliens. People across the nation are fed up with the do-nothing Congress. Upcoming elections will most likely reflect that sentiment.

Anonymous said...

Although Federal took over control of the CNMI local immigration, there's still a lot of employers abuse their employees specially for non payment of salaries & wages. Not to mention I myself is also a victim of our crooked employer, many of the former employees was not even paid, although a judgment order has been issued about a decade ago. What will happen to these workers? They work hard for that money. Probably they will go back to their country w/ an empty packet. This time around we are asking the Obama administration to please consider and include the long term guest workers on your list to grant a status that would allow them to continue live and work on the Island of Saipan and share their knowledge for the improvement of what they call also their home.

Anonymous said...

I think it the right thing to do this world belong to no one but god people should av the right to live anywhere the want.god will bless obama for what he is trying to do for these young people.if congress don't agree with obama they are heartless.people that are american they don't want to work are go to school.majority of illegal kids the are smart willing to work obama way to go.

It's not your money! said...

Anon 2:00 AM

Obama is right to provide relief by executive order to the young people the DREAM Act would cover. But you are wrong to say people should have the right to live wherever they want, and that Americans don't want to work. People are citizens of the country they are born in and must respect the laws and borders of other countries. You don't have a right to go to another country and demand citizenship. And Americans are some of the hardest working people on earth. Anyone who says "Aliens are lazy," would rightly be called out on it, and I am calling you out on your ignorant, racist statement.

Wendy Doromal said...

It's Not Your Money

I cannot understand all of 2:00's comment. I agree Obama did the right thing and now Congress must do the right thing for the CNMI's legal, longterm foreign workers.

American are not lazy, but they certainly are selective about what jobs they will accept. There are not enough Americans to work in the fields for under minimum wage, to work at the meat packing plants, to clean toilets in hotels and resorts or to toil in the hot sun landscaping, etc. This is why even illegal aliens are guaranteed employment (although illegal) in the U.S.

I work with migrant farm workers and the YAYAs in Florida. To earn minimum wage one person would have to pick over 2 TONS of tomatoes a day! I could not do that job -most people would not do that job. In 2010 in response to the anti-immigrants cry that 'immigrants were taking American jobs', the United Farm Workers Union sponsored a 'Take My Job!' campaign. Well, there were less than a handful of takers. So while Americans are not lazy, and many of us are actually workaholics, the majority of us will not (or cannot physically) take the jobs that the immigrants fill.

Anonymous said...

this is a response for no.03 comment.sir,who's to be blame? the local labor or the US labor? your allegations seems to be true but not all employers. It has been happening during the past 2 decades,and up to now still happens, In my opinion it is lack of enforcement and it has been tolerated with all of this kind of employers. Although they were barred from the local labor but still they were still allowed to hire workers since the federal took over control of the local immigration. A strict compliance should be imposed for all the employers so there will be no abuses happen on the part of the workers not only on the side of the foreign workers but in general. I am not against on anybody let's unite and built this community on a brighter future.