On Status

June 7, 2012

I am 100 percent behind UWM president, Rabby Syed's idea of hunger strike to be held outside the Saipan Office of Delegate Gregorio Sablan. The workers should keep their plight in the news. They need to let Americans know that the U.S. Congress refuses to act on status for every legal, long-term foreign workers of the CNMI, even as legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House that would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal nonresidents.

I encourage all of the foreign workers to participate in any and all protests. I only wish I could be there to join everyone!

Congressman Gregorio Sablan (D or I –depending on who you ask - CNMI) met with select-only members of CNMI worker groups two weeks ago and reportedly held another meeting yesterday. The congressman did not invite Rabby Syed, President of the United Workers’ Movement-NMI to any of the meetings. Rabby and Sablan were both on the stage together at the Hopwood Junior High School graduation, so it is not a matter of the congressman being unable to contact the leader. Sablan obviously made the decision to snub and exclude Rabby from the discussions. It appears that Sablan only contacts those worker leaders that he thinks will support his agenda. Perhaps he has a problem accepting diverse opinions or listening to those who disagree with his policies or suggest alternative solutions. Judging by remarks he has made to both Rabby and me at previous meetings, I can only conclude that this is the case. Isn't this the very attitude that has perpetuated gridlock and division in the U.S. Congress for the last two years?

I was waiting to see what election-time action would come from the Delegate's office. It seems that Sablan is considering removing the fourth category from H.R. 1466, the foreign workers who have a U.S. citizen or spouse (as I wrote in a comment several days ago here.) While his idea of getting status for some (the first three categories), rather than none, appears to make sense on the surface, there is absolutely no evidence that Republicans, Democrats or any members of Congress would object to all of the legal, long-term foreign workers being given permanent residency status. That includes the foreign workers without a U.S. citizen spouse or child.

If the delegate refuses to support a proper status for all of the legal, long-term foreign workers because "his people" do not want the legal foreign workers to be franchised, to have basic rights and to be included as members of the American family, just say so. No one wants to hear any more excuses or false information.

I would like to know the names of each and every member of Congress who has said that he or she objects to less than 20,000 foreign contract workers who have lived and worked in the CNMI for years and decades to be granted permanent residency. Who are they? If Sablan and his staff had dedicated the time and effort to educate the members of Congress about the plight of the workers are we to believe that members, whether Republican or Democrat,  would oppose status for the legal, long-term foreign workers, even as they support status for millions of illegals?

I believe that the main roadblock to upgraded status for all of the legal, long-term foreign workers is, and has been, the CNMI Delegate. The protocol in the U.S. Congress is that the other members of congressional committees and caucuses bow to the wishes of the member whose district is impacted by the legislation. If Sablan had pushed for every legal, long-term foreign worker to have permanent residency it would have happened. An official told me that Sablan had the opportunity to introduce  legislation to propose upgrading the status of each and every foreigner in the CNMI, including the stateless children, the CNMI permanent residents, the children and spouses of the permanent residents and every legal, long-term foreign worker. The time to have introduced such legislation was when the Democrats had control of both Houses of Congress and the Presidency when President Obama first took office. I believe (and others agree) that a bill that called for permanent residency for every legal, long-term (over 5 years or more) foreign worker would have passed at that time.

The argument that Republicans will not support status for less than 20,000 LEGAL, long-term foreign workers is unsupported. It has been tossed about as an excuse for years with no real evidence to support that premise. Now that a Republican has introduced the STARS Act that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of ILLEGALS in the U.S. mainland, it is unconvincing to say that members of this party will not support the same for LEGAL nonresidents!

It is the responsibility of all members of Congress to educate the other members on unique situations within their own districts. Sablan and his staff could have been informing every congressional member that the foreign workers of the CNMI were recruited and legally working and residing there for years and decades, some for most of their adult lives; that they were and are needed to fill jobs that locals lack the skills to fill; that many were cheated of wages and never made whole; that they have been contributing members of the community.  Who can argue that such people do not deserve permanent residency status?

Usually during an election year I devote my summer to campaigning. Not this summer. This summer I am working to get a fair version of a status bill introduced into Congress. I drafted such a proposal that is backed by the UWM. It includes all categories of legal, long-term foreigners. I will be speaking to and educating legislators from my home state and other states, both Republicans and Democrats so that they understand the history and plight of the foreign workers. I will devote my time to seeking a moral member of Congress who supports American principles and ideals to introduce the legislation.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

You got it right. Bottom line is that Kilili is protecting his political career. He doesn't call on Syed because he got his green card all ready. Better to tell the ones without status and IRs that he'll propose a discount on green card costs. That way their US citizen relatives will vote for him. He'll pull the rug on the bill anyway. No decent status bill will come from any congressman from the CNMI. Good luck with your bill. I hope someone has the balls to introduce it.

Anonymous said...

Some people criticize Raby for saying he'll do a hunger strike but they though Kilili diet was such a swell idea. Both tactics are to draw attention to injustice. Call CNN and make a hunger strike.

Anonymous said...

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it."
Malcolm X

Anonymous said...

be very careful people, right now there is only one voice in Congress that is advocating ANYTHING at all for the CNMI foreign workers. This at at the time when everyone in Congress is focusing on the economy, election and the upcoming ruling on Obamacare. The Rep congressmans version of the Dream act is just that, a dream at this point. it is just now starting the initial phases of being talked about in Congress and has many many hurdles to be jumped through which won't happen in an election year. After the recall election failed miserably in Wisconsin many pundits feel there could be a change both in the WH and Senate. There will be a stronger Rep presence in the house. Not a sure thing but this could happen. The fear of this happening is going to shut down any action even resembling an immigration bill. Go ahead and fight Killi on this, just understand the likely outcome will be nothing for all. GAO is issuing their report on the transition and they still state that in the end CW's will be zero'd out.......make a plan and understand if Killi's bill doesn't pass nothing very well may pass by the time the transition and any extentions end.....what will the CWs do then???????????????? Make your bed and lie in it.........

Wendy Doromal said...

7:33 Fighting Sablan or fighting FOR the foreign workers are two different things. And no, there are others in Congress who are interested in immigration from both parties. Sablan blew it for the foreign workers by not introducing a decent bill when he had the chance for it to pass. The U.S. Congress blew it. Now is the time to correct past errors, not add to them.

the teacher said...

Sorry Wendy, I put this in the lower post and meant it here.

I hope Rabby reconsiders and decides there may be more effective legal alternatives than a strike. I personally do not believe it is warranted and certainly will not succeed. The camping out at Homeland Security proved futile and so would this action. Kilili was badmouthed on this blog for introducing 1466 because it wasn’t inclusive enough and it didn’t pass because it was too inclusive. So to suggest proposing a broader bill including more people is senseless. He has/or will submit a bill with the US children’s parents taken out because the GOP said it would never pass the House. What I expect to happen is that the new bill will be blocked because it waives filing fees for spouses of citizens which may not pass so after that is out, the final bill will spare a couple hundred stateless children. So what exactly would a hunger strike do, screw the stateless children. I told people to not bash 1466 because it was a chip away process and who could deny so many children…so now they are out and they ain’t going back in even if they all hunger strike. Life is a chess game, make smart moves.

A hunger strike is a threat against America and the rule of law. Some unemployed persons here with citizen children will need to exit the CNMI because that is what the law says. To threaten action will not help individuals and could hamper their future immigration status in America. I can't encourage anyone to particpate in such actions.

Anonymous said...

might be the time to remidy the problems but Washington D.C. is not the place at this point in time. from now until this time next year nothing of any substance to include any immigration bill is going to happen, you must know enough about D.C./politics/election year to realize this. By this time next year who knows what the Administration/House/Senate will look like let alone the U.S. economy or the CNMI economy..... I truly believe nothing at all is going to happen, should it? Should it be fought for? of course, but realistically will it happen....strong odds are against it.... and people expecially CWs should understand that reality.......

Wendy Doromal said...

12:44 The fact that our "leaders" are so interested in their own re-elections that democracy comes to a screeching halt every election cycle indicates something seriously wrong with our country! Education must never stop and we will have groundwork set for the new Congress. I hope it is the new and improved Congress. I doubt it could get worse.

Furthermore, protests are effective in getting attention of the press and that educates too people. We need to educate the American people to get support for justice for the foreign workers.

Wendy Doromal said...

Teacher, 11:40

You said, "A hunger strike is a threat against America and the rule of law." Wrong! A hunger strike is a form of nonviolent protest to gain attention and hopefully inspire positive change concerning an issue or injustice. In no way is it an act against the country or law! I hope that Rabby and the foreign workers rise up and shout to the WORLD of the injustice on U.S. soil.

Ron, "KIlili was bad-mouthed on this blog? I am expressing my opinion on this blog. If he wants to tell a worker leader that he'll "f**k with them if they f**k with his bill, damn straight he won't get my respect. If he wants to omit 12,000 deserving foreign workers from a bill because they have no U.S. spouse or children and therefore have no potential or existing voters in their families (As in voting for him) damn straight he'll get no loving here. If he wants to yell at me that he would tell those foreign workers who served the CNMI for DECADES to "go home" damn straight he has no support here. At least in regards to THIS issue. As far as human rights and justice is concerned he's gets a big "F" from me. You want to support him -that's your choice. I do not support his recent actions concerning the foreign workers. He has deeply damaged their cause and set back justice and democracy in the name of protecting "his people" as he calls the locals voters. He bad mouthed advocates and those who disagree with his course of action.

Ron, tell me WHO EXACTLY are these so-called Republicans who do not want 16,000 -20,000 (if that many even remain in the CNMI) LEGAL aliens to have permanent residency status? Give us names please so we can educate them on the history and plight of these people who deserve permanent residency as much, if not MORE, than the dream children who have a Republican sponsoring a bill for them to have U.S. citizenship right now.

Of course the stateless children and permanent residents should be given status! They should have been given status decades ago. (Real status -not an apartheid-type status that keeps them disenfranchised and restricts their travel) Status for the first three groups in HR 1466 could be added as an amendment to any bill that's up to pass. The fact that these deserving groups never got status and may be up for status on a flawed bill, does not mean that the foreign workers should stop fighting for their own status.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, you should know that in the NMI the elected officials expect total loyalty and support. Even though you have pointed out valid deficiencies in HR 1466, your opinion is going to be taken as a personal attack by Kilili and his loyal supporters. Too bad. This is one reason why we're in the state we're in now and why things likely won't change any time soon. Actually, the best thing that could happen to the NMI would be if more of the foreign workers got U.S. citizenship and started voting in leaders by qualifications instead of by family ties and political favors. Keep up the fight!

Anonymous said...

wendy get the facts on the republican sponsered dream act.......it provides a NON IMMIGRANT status for up to five years...... a non immigrant status is just that not an immigrat, means you are here temoporarily. you cannot apply for citizenship. Immigrants such at Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residency (LAPR) green card holders have to remain in that immigrant status for 3-5yrs depending before they can apply for citizenship.....a non immigrant under the not yet even committeed bill offers no such immigrant status........too much misinformation all around hasn't helped the CWS..... as teacher said many without jobs or without a current status under current federal immigration law must be ready to leave. it is the law as it stands now. you can't be allowed to wait a maybe and a remote maybe at that

Anonymous said...

The mainland press has more "pressing" matters than to worry about one man going on a hunger strike 7000miles away. Do you know how many people in the mainland US are on hunger strike for some position or an other? Should the fight continue of course it should. is it futile based upon past efforts here to change the Feds mind, re: lawsuits, camp outs, marches, the law is the law and Congress isn't going to do anything before the transition period ends. USCIS is getting tired of the people here trying to scam the system to get something, USICE will start to ramp up efforts now that DHS databases are getting filled with the info from USCIS cases....if you are currently qualified great if not get ready to go. even if qualified and approved for a CW that end is getting closer too....make a plan

Anonymous said...

Wendy and Rabby both live in a strange dreamland. In this dreamland there are ships sailing towards Ellis Island with US passports awaiting them. In this dreamland there are Homeland Security officials holding the hands of Mexicans and helping them cross the river. Wake up and open your eyes. Times have changed. The United States is over 15 trillion in debt and it's rising by about 500 billion a month. There are no jobs. The economy will hit 10% unemployment by November. Why would anyone in Congress want to add to the chaos?

It's not your money! said...

The bottom line is that the Congress will never give 16,000 legal foreign workers green cards over the objection of the governor. Our current governor may command little respect in DC, and he may have zero credibility, but unless the local government says that it needs these workers to fill jobs in the private sector, Washington will never do it. In the Virgin Islands, by contrast, everyone was in agreement that the local workforce needed to be supplemented by foreign workers.

Anonymous said...

we dont need status, we need reliable employer not crook employer and busines consfiracy.i hope homeland security chek this busineses....

Wendy Doromal said...

7:07 The facts are that STARS is a pathway to status: read hereand ultimately U.S. citizenship. The DREAM Act, which assed the House and failed the Senate is a much broader bill that includes more and has them jumping through less hoops. The significance of Rivera's bill is that a Republican is now recognizing the need for immigration reform -at least in this area of concern. My own Republican Senator - Senator Rubio is also discussing immigration reform. It is important that they are educated about the plight of the foreign workers and their desperate need for status.

Wendy Doromal said...

9:00 Rabby has not even decided if he will go on a hunger strike or protest in another way. The good news is that the foreign worker leaders and the workers are recognizing the great need to get their story to the world some way, some how NOW. Not after the "right" people get elected, not when CNMI leaders think it's a good idea (that is probably never), but NOW. I will be speaking to a member of the national press Monday about their plight.

Wendy Doromal said...

2:08 At least now the Republicans are talking -at least now they are stating there is a need for some type of immigration reform. None of the bills are perfect. Two address illegal immigrants, one addresses LEGAL foreign workers who by virtue of decades of living in the CNMI are de facto citizens.

Should we stop fighting for rights because we have a broken democracy where one needs millions to run for office? Should we stop fighting for justice because we have a non-functioning Congress? Should we stop fighting for a status that reflects American values because naysayers want to maintain the status quo - a two-tiered system of franchised and disenfranchised, haves and have nots, full rights and minimal rights? If we leave this alone that two tiered system will grow more divided every year. That division will fill with hatred, racism and greed. This division, injustice and broken democracy must be repaired. We can watch the breakdown or try to fix it.

You say maybe 100 people support green cards and a pathway to citizenship for all. No one asked the American citizens if we wanted the people of the CNMI to join the American family. Why is it that the locals in the CNMI, many of whom were handed citizenship, demand to decide the fate of foreign workers? It is not their decision to make. The question why don't the locals support the same status that they were handed for people who actually worked for it? For people who are members of their community? Is it because you want to keep them down? Does it give you power to oppress another, to step on someone's back to keep him lower than you? Does it make you feel powerful to deny a person of basic rights? Does it make you feel proud? Why?

Wendy Doromal said...

I am certain that the governors of the southern states opposed freedom of the slaves, yet the slaves gained their freedom and an ugly chapter in our nation's history ended. I understand your sentiment, but if it is true then our system is very broken and Congress needs to wake up! Why should one leader's lust for power and greed be an excuse for denying justice for many and ignoring our country's democratic principles? I am speaking not just of the idea that Congress would bow to a governor's wishes regardless of the lack of merit, but that members of Congress would bow to another member of Congress on the premise that he should decide issues in his district. Members of Congress should look at issues by their merits and judge them by the democratic principles of our country and not merely by the views or whims of other elected officials. How sad is this policy especially when the people affected, the legal, long-term foreign workers, cannot even vote, have few basic rights and are given no voice.

Anonymous said...

A hunger strike might get people sick. God knows you don't want to wind up at CHC! Also, who on Earth is going to pay for their medical bills once admitted to the ER?

Anonymous said...

Nice realistic comments and insights teacher. good to have the voice of reason back

Anonymous said...

2012 is an election year so everything is politics this year. There are no immigration matters moving forward this year. If the GOP is advanced by the election then they will drop all immigration issues. If the Dems imrove numbers in the House, hold the Senate and President spot, then the GOP will offer the "New Dream Act" and as an astute observer above notes, there isn't or won't be citizenship involved.

In the CNMI most expect the spouses to also be dropped from the Delegates bill before it can pass. Raby said he would strike (or the paper said he said that)if citizen kids were pulled out but if workers hunger strike at his office then he will withdraw the bill or never submit it. If Kilili is defeated in the NMI, which would be possible with 2 candidates, the Covenant/Republican puppet of Ben Fitial will never entertain such legislation.

The numbers of workers will keep dropping here according to the law. The number of 12,000 legal workers here is years outdated five years or more. The NMI has 1,700+ CW sponsers with no investor visa holders, not one, so the only logical assuption is that workers or locals are sponsoring other workers, which will be stopped.

Workers should prepare for the worst because there is no opportunity for them in the NMI on the horizon.

Anonymous said...

10:17

I have not seen a more clear statement yet. Prepare to leave, that's Federal law. Remember, this is what the marches and late night candle light vigils. The CWs got exactly what they wanted.

Anonymous said...

Republicans and Democrats have drafted legislative proposals that would grant permanent residency to top students, but so far no bill has generated enough support to become law. President Obama has instructed immigration officials to review cases and grant leniency to a small number of the most deserving students. Now a process that was once a simple matter of legal or illegal has become a question of merit.

A salutatorian from Texas was granted a last-minute reprieve after 2,000 people rallied on her behalf. A valedictorian in Miami avoided deportation in March by collecting 100,000 signatures and traveling to Washington for a news conference with a Republican congressman.

But what happens when you’re ranked No. 22 at a suburban high school outside Richmond, where politicians haven’t responded to your calls and school officials aren’t sure whether to spell your name Heydi or Heidi?

Late this spring, while her friends stayed late after AP classes to fill out college applications one senior and her mother hired an immigration lawyer in Manassas,VA to file a motion to reopen their case. The lawyer explained that nothing in the law offered her reason to hope. Democrats had yet to pass their Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for students who came to the country as minors and completed college or military service.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river. Many tens of thousands have stood in line and become US Citizens. Many have served their Country and earned their rightful place. The Philippine government pulled their troops out of Iraq, further endangering US Troops and putting many more in harms way. Why? ONE Filipino overseas worker was taken hostage! Their pathetic excuse? We must protect our overseas workers. Look, it ain't gonna happen. You have your own country to go home to.

Wendy Doromal said...

4:48

Yes, it is going to happened, meaning that ALL of the legal, foreign workers will be granted permanent residency. After my meetings I believe this more than ever.

Anonymous said...

10:17

Prepare to leave and FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO STAY!

Anonymous said...

With whom did you meet with? Who supports blanket Green Card legislation? These names should be made public, an election is approaching.

Anonymous said...

Wendy ................these the same meetings you had prior to federalization???? remember how sure you were then??????? you still buy the line these people in congress are feeding you????? Come on it is an election year, meaning if anything is done it would be something stateside....nothing and I repeat nothing is going to pass congress before the election... 2014 is around the corner people are getting denied a simple CW, fraud is rampent in the USCIS filings, chinese are marry locals for money and some locals are married 3-4 times.....there is sooo much abuse by foreign nationals in the CNMI it rivals any abuses conducted previous to federalization by the locals. and yes Wendy USCIS and CIE are aware of it.....look at federal prosecution for fraud.....wait till they start to look at the WIC issues......

Wendy Doromal said...

6:00

Calm down. You do not know the people who I talked to. You do not know any plans. You do not know the players. You do not know the timeline You do not have facts. And I am keeping all of my cards close to my chest. When the member/s are ready to introduce their bill, they will make the announcement.

Everyone said federalization would never pass. It did. Now we must fix the mistakes -the biggest one being that it had no status provision. That WILL be resolved. Just getting some movement is a HUGE step. I am excited!

If you see fraud report it. Or are you just attacking innocent people by stereotyping and making generalizations? Look over the CNMI newspapers and see WHO is corrupt, who is committing fraud and crimes. The majority are NOT foreign workers!

Wendy Doromal said...

1:51

I guess you will wait until the bill is introduced! The foundation is being laid now. Those who will introduce it are people who believe in American principles and justice. The election has nothing to do with overdue justice.

Anonymous said...

Any bill can be introduced. It certainly does not mean it will become law by any stretch of the imagination. The above anon is spot on. Are these some sort of new secret meetings? There is no gain in granting Green Cards to these people. I know how cold that sounds but you have to look at it through the eyes of a politician in a VERY close election year. These are non voters. Why on Earth would someone put their name to a bill that will mean more US tax dollars for more welfare?

Wendy Doromal said...

8:58

Of course any bill can be introduced, but it is significant to have a bill that would provide status and justice for ALL of the legal, long-term workers introduced. Of course any bill can pass or fail, which is why I am devoting my summer to educating members of Congress so they understand the history, and present state of the LEGAL, longterm workers of the CNMI; so that they can understand the vast difference between the CNMI legal aliens and the illegal aliens in the mainland. I disagree that there is "no gain in granting green cards to the long suffering and long deserving legal foreign workers of the CNMI. The gain is that our country will FINALLY do the right thing by the legal foreign workers and fulfill the intent of the CNRA.

You ask, "Are these some sort of secret meetings?" No. I am a citizen-advocate and I can meet with any elected official of my choice at any time. Secret only in that I am not stupid enough to reveal the full discussion so people can destroy what progress I have made or put obstacles in the way of progress towards the goal of obtaining a REAL status for ALL of the legal, longterm foreign workers..

You say, "These are nonvoters..." Exactly! These de facto citizens have been kept out of the democratic process only because CNMI politicians and some residents wish to promote and continue the undemocratic and un-American two-tiered society of the CNMI; they want to continue to keep the LEGAL, longterm foreign workers oppressed. Enough!

Anonymous said...

You are brave and committed. I respect that completely. However, if blog site opinions can bring down life changing legislation then you are once again drinking the kool-aid.