More on Status

June 14, 2012

There is no such thing as part freedom.
–Nelson Mandela


Marianas Variety editor Zaldy Dandan got it really wrong in his latest defensive of Congressman Sablan and his inferior proposal for status.  He discusses Sablan's H.R 1466 like it is a "good thing". For whom? For the only 1/4 of the total CNMI LEGAL, long-term foreign workers that it includes? How about the 3/4 left out for no other reason than they failed to get married, failed to have a child while working in the CNMI? The bill totally excluded them!

Is it a good thing that the stateless children and the CNMI permanent workers be given an inferior status and not permanent residency with a pathway to citizenship?

Zaldy calls H.R. 1466 "merely a proposal", but it is a bill that was introduced and Sablan has continued to defend and campaign for its passage.  I was told that the bill will not pass. I am glad for that because it not only excludes the MAJORITY of the LEGAL, long-term foreign workers, but it provides for an inferior status for those included –one that would create a new immigration category under the INA; one that shamefully mirrors the post-Civil War Black Codes.

All categories of legal CNMI aliens mentioned in H.R. 1466 and ALL legal, long-term foreign workers (not just those with U.S. citizen immediate relatives) must be granted permanent residency status. H.R. 1466 falls short of being a decent status bill. I am encouraged that this is being acknowledged and we can expect that a proper bill will be introduced.

After Zaldy expressed that it was unlikely that the bill would pass, he stated:
"So why be upset about not getting something that doesn’t even exist? Guest workers with U.S. citizen children, in any case, will be petitioned once their kids reach 21 (and are able to meet the other requirements). And although the transition period ends in 2014, it may be extended. In fact, an extension — the least politically problematic “solution” to the CNMI’s undisputed need for guest workers — is the most likely outcome. And if not? Then we move on. We return to the P.I. or seek a new job in another country. Padayon. Padayunon ang pagpangita. Life continues."
Why be worried? Why be upset? Because many of the legal, long-term foreign workers have no home to return to! Some of the Chinese workers have more than one U.S. citizen child and would be charged huge fines for having more than one child if they had to return to China. Some others have no employment opportunities, no property and no family or support system in their former homelands. More importantly, most of the CNMI's legal, long-term foreign workers do not have a U.S. citizen spouse or child! It is interesting that the majority of the legal, foreign workers left out of the bill –those without a U.S. citizen spouse or child– were not even mentioned in this editorial.

There is nothing in the CNRA that states that a status bill has to come from the CNMI Delegate.  It is obvious that a bill that would include all legal, long-term foreign workers and would reflect American principles and provide justice for the workers will in fact, not come from a CNMI Delegate, but will come from other congressional members. Sablan made it clear that he wants the majority of the workers "to go home so that my people" can have a job.  He and a staff member both stated that to draft a bill for permanent residency would be "political suicide".  Sablan will never ask for the status of permanent residency for all legal, long-term foreign workers because he knows "his people" and the CNMI leaders want to maintain the status quo and the un-American two-tiered society.

Another misleading comment  in the editorial:
In the CNMI’s case, railing against “slavery” or “apartheid” has antagonized what could have been the most important ally in the guest workers’ campaign for improved status: the local people. (Sometimes I wonder what the victims or the descendants of those who experienced the evils of slavery or apartheid would say if they were told that their unspeakable ordeal is comparable to that of a CNMI foreign worker who has yet to receive his salary.)
I am not alone in saying that H.R. 1466 is apartheid-like.  In fact, even a federal official agreed. Apartheid is defined as, "A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups." H.R. 1466 absolutely fits this definition. The status within H.R. 1466  would restrict travel and disenfranchise the affected foreign workers and perpetuate the class system that has existed for decades in the CNMI. How is that an American and democratic status? It is not. It is an apartheid-like status.

I know no one who equated H.R. 1466 with slavery. The bill mirrors the post-civil War Black Codes. But just for argument's sake regarding slavery, one would not have to ask the descendants of those who experienced the evils of slavery or apartheid, one could merely ask some of the CNMI foreign workers who have documented cases of slavery, including a Bangladeshi male and a Chinese female who were recruited to the CNMI and kept as slaves.

The CNMI system was corrupt and problematic and had to end. The federal guest worker program has turned out to be ineffective. An extension of a poorly executed federal program is not the solution. Such a move would only extend the uncertainty and continue the problems. The only way that the foreign workers should be reduced to zero by 2014 is by providing all of the legal, long-term foreign workers permanent residency so they are no longer foreign workers.

Zaldy speaks of status as though it is strictly a political issue. It is not. People should not be regarded political pawns. This is far more than a political issue. It is a moral and ethical issue. It is an issue of justice and human rights.  It is an issue that will impact the reputation of the United States. Thankfully, there are people in power who recognize this.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

They don't like you calling the bill apartheid coz it could make people not to vote for it. They think we'll take any status. It's not true. Now that it's not safe to live here with doctors leaving, no referals and everything breaking workers will be better off looking for a new place.

Anonymous said...

Wendy it sounds like you have heard the same thing many of us have. HR 1466 will not pass in any shape or form. If that is the case it is safe to see that many in the CNMI will not have any chance at a status. There will be no bill passed before 2014 and perhaps not to well beyond. Nothing is currenlty pending and Killi's bill took several years even to get to the point where it was put on the calendar. Any bill introduced before the election won't be heard by its first committee until well after the inaguration. This contentious issue of immigration won't be heard at all and no action will be seen for years. No senator or congressman will introduce a stand alone bill and if they do it will bog down in committee as everyone tries to load up or take out according to their own consituents concerns. For us folks in the CNMI it means save money and look elsewhere. We came here from somewhere else and we can go somewhere else plenty of other places with opporutnity.

Wendy Doromal said...

7:57 Yes, but I also know a bill will be introduced. Will it pass? No one knows and it will depend on who is elected and how much time is devoted to educating those who buy the Fitial line that status for LEGAL workers is a form of amnesty. That, of course is a lie. Amnesty can only be granted to someone who has broken the law. The legal, long-term foreign workers are not lawbreakers. We need to educate and fight on. Remember that many said that the CNRA would never pass. Well, it did. I do not care what people say or predict. The truth is that no one can predict. We need to continue the fight!

Anonymous said...

kudos to you on fighting on. everyone needs to make an informed decision as to what is best for them and their family. choices made now will effect what will happen to them in the future. one problem in the CNMI is many chinese nationals come in as tourist and don't want to leave. they think if they hide out they will be able to apply for something, amenesty in 2015 or have a usc kid and apply for parole. in the meantime they apply for wic and other benefits that are running out. those are the kinds of problems that will frustrate locals of all ethnicities and complicate the passage of any bill. not only speed up the demise of the social services in the CNMI

Anonymous said...

It's likely that Mitt Romney will win by a landslide. So your bill had better get passed before November.

Anonymous said...

You yourself predicted blanket green cards Wendy. You just recently predicted the passage of a bill that would grant status. In fact, you've been predicting for years.

Anonymous said...

7:57 A.m. stop playing around with innocent cnmi alien workers.you should not use them name and pretend to be one of us. we lost our life in CNMI/USA fraud hope.keep it in ur mind.we are cheated by USA(one of you)peace pls....Wendy is doing her best for humanity. GODBLESS you...USA

Wendy Doromal said...

11:57 I was TOLD by congressional officials when the grandfathering act was removed that a bill would follow proposing permanent residency for the legal workers. I was TOLD that again this week. Is that predicting or believing the words of people who have the power to do what they say?

Wendy Doromal said...

4:37 You are basing your prediction on what facts?

Anonymous said...

Rpmney may win. So what? Bush signed the federalization bill!

Anonymous said...

wendy the fact that sum are playing around by us(cnmi abused USAalien) they are happy with so....people are here on hope and became illegal and involving to disturb the peace.. as per USCIS law if u cant get cw1 then you are out of status,,as a alien of cnmi/usa its too much for now,,if anyone wanna help then pls just do it not to release in public press.when fitial buy the cw1 rules he and USA federal keep quite and cw1 come up with abused cw1.i hope u know what i meant too..i mean u going to bring new bill but once u release in press cnmi alien(my self) getting more abused with powerful chamorocaroliano americano,,,pls peace wendy plssssss

Wendy Doromal said...

1:05 I cannot really understand your comment, but if you are being abused please contact the ombudsman or USDOJ immediately.

Anonymous said...

I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out where this editor is coming from. Why would an educated Filipino support the status quo for his countrymen and women? Or does Zaldy and the MV just blindly support Kilili? Zaldy is an odd guy. He's come out a couple times saying he doesn't want to be a U.S. citizen and criticizing people who do. He has a patriotic, nationalistic Filipino streak, but oddly works outside of his country. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Zaldy is fake and makes deceitful pretenses who pretends beliefs and opinions that he does not hold in order to conceal his real feelings or motives. He does not provide solutions and helps to his kabayan and instead confused them especially those are not too educated at all!
Zaldy should help his kabayan using his smartness but instead Wendy and other foreigners are the one helping.