Message to the Foreign Workers

Washington Monument Photo by W. L. Doromal ©2012
June 12, 2012

More than any other trip that I have made to Washington, DC in the last 17 years to advocate for the CNMI foreign workers, I feel that this one is the most productive. I received positive responses to my draft legislation and to my arguments for permanent residency for all of the categories of CNMI aliens, including all of the legal, long-term foreign workers regardless of their marital or parental connections to U.S. citizens.

I am not going to publicly disclose specific details of my conversations or even discuss who I spoke with at my meetings, knowing that to do so at this time would merely open doors for opponents to throw obstacles in the path for justice for the long-term  foreign contract workers. However, know that there are people in positions of power who have told me that American principles must be applied in this case, a just status must be granted and the intent of the CNRA must be followed. There are champions of justice who are committed to doing right by the legal, long-term foreign workers; to ensuring that they are made whole after being abused or cheated; to seeing that they have a chance to fulfill the American dream after serving the Commonwealth as dedicated workers and contributing community members for years and decades.

Among the documents that I presented to officials, were two petitions from the foreign workers.  I originally presented the first petition to members of Congress in 1999; the other was written weeks ago. I brought both petitions to show that the pleas of the CNMI legal, long-term foreign workers were the same thirteen years ago as they are today. Sadly, very little reform, improvement in the conditions and status of the foreign workers has occurred in thirteen long years. The U.S. Congress must accept some responsibility for the lack of oversight, reform and the painfully slow movement towards justice and freedom for the legal, long-term foreign workers. The petitions helped to drive that message home. I believe that there are members who are committed to making things right for the legal, long-term foreign workers.

As an advocate I cannot promise the perfect ending. I can only promise to continue to fight for all of you to have the status that you deserve – permanent residency.  I can promise that I will continue to push forward the goal of permanent residency by educating members of Congress, elected officials and others in positions of power.

Unfortunately, Congress has become lethally partisan, gridlocked and dysfunctional to the detriment of our nation and all of the people who reside within. Hopefully, the upcoming elections will result in a working Congress with a majority of members who support American principles and ideals. We need state and national leaders who want to move the nation forward, not backwards as too much legislation of late attempts to do.

We also need unified voices demanding justice and reform. You must continue to fight for your rights.  Now is not the time to retreat into the shadows. The American people and members of Congress must know of your plight so we can force change. As the great American Henry Clay stated, "An oppressed people are authorized whenever they can to rise and break their fetters."

Some photos ©2012 W. L. Doromal:

Outside the White House

"In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock."
Thomas Jefferson

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor;
 it must be demanded by the oppressed." 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Those who deny freedom to others 
deserve it not for themselves."
Abraham Lincoln


Anonymous said...

I will say I respect your dogged work on this. That said all aliens in the CNMI must understand that currently the law is in place and they must comply and conform within it. Others to include you will advocate for them but until the law is changed.

I know you will agree that it is a long difficult process and with regard to immigration legislature probably the longest and hardest. Until then they must comply with the law as it stands. Those who have no current status or those who are denied a status have to understand that they run the risk of being outside the law and all consequences that come with being in violation of the law. If they understand that then there can be no wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth when they get caught and pay the price for knowingly violating federal law. A status is not a right it is a priveledge that the U.S. Goverment has authority to bestow and the right not to bestow on anyone that does not meet the qualifications and standards the U.S. Government decides to set as a matter of law.

Again a status is a priveledge that any governement has the right to bestow. No one who is a foreign national has a "right" to an improved status in the country they reside in, they can apply for a status they qualify for but it is not right to be granted it, the Government, via USCIS decides if they are to be granted one. Currently there is not permanent status available to those CWs under the laws in place solely based on their being here no matter how long. Not being mean or racist just being factual..

Anonymous said...

Anon June 13, 2012 7:59 PM,

I pity you because you know how to write but you are not possessing sound knowledge, you're id__t.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:55

Disagreeing with someone's point of view is one thing. Calling them an id!ot because you don't agree is another. The writer is telling you and all the readers what are facts. If you disagree then present your side with facts and a reasonable argument. Name calling defeats your point of view and makes those holding the opposing point of view appear to be uninformed. It also turns off potential supporters. If you are a guest worker in the CNMI be thankful you have an employer that would hire someone with such a poor attitude.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:39 PM

You just did what you told Anon 8:55 not to do. 8:55 does not need to present his side because it is not a rocket science to understand that 7:59 is wrong. You guys got your citizenship from where?

It's not your money! said...

Anon 7:59 is not wrong, he or she is right. That's why it's very important for CW applicants and others who seek improved status to make sure they do not overstay. Wendy and others have been advocating for improved status for longterm LEGAL foreign workers. If you lapse out of status with no waiver or exemption or parole of any type, you cease to be here legally, and will be subject to the same sanctions as any other overstayer. Protect yourself by maintaining your legal status, and by obeying and observing the federal law. If you are unsure about whether you are legally here, seek the assistance of the Federal Ombudsman's Office.

Anonymous said...

be careful about who you seek an opinion on your legal status from. Only DHS through USCIS/CBP or USICE can tell you what your legal status is as they are the only agency that controls the status of immigrants. The ombudsman can only give you their opinion, not an official determination. don't take a chance with something so important as to ask someone's opinion you need to make sure you "know" your status. if the person who gives you their opinion is wrong you are the one who ends up in trouble not the giver of bad advice...

It's not your money! said...

Anon 11:59:

In my experience, CW's will get better information from the Ombudsman, because the staff there knows who to contact within USCIS, and knows the proper way of requesting the information. If a CW calls USCIS and isn't familiar with "federal-speak," they may or may not get useful information. The Ombudsman's job is to assist CW's with these type of requests, and she is good at it. And it's free!

Wendy Doromal said...

It's Not Your Money -I agree with you (both comments)

Anonymous said...

based on the people i talk to be careful, they were told one thing by ombudsman staff and turned they were given deportation notices from the court. the ombudsman might be a nice lady but she and her staff are not U.S. Immigration experts plus someone's immigration status and record is private. there are laws that limit who has access to that information. It can't be 'given' to someone just because someone asks them to check. This issue is to important to trust someone's opinion when the stakes are to high.