Majority of CW Permit Applications Not Processed

July 2, 2012

Eight months after CW permit applications were submitted under the CNMI Guest Worker Program, still  65% remain to be processed. The Saipan Tribune reported:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regional media manager Marie Therese Sebrechts said on Saturday that from Oct. 7 through June 26, the California Service Center had data entered 5,763 I-129CW petitions.

The petitions were filed by approximately 1,803 different employers on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

A total of 11,809 CW1 workers are sponsored on these petitions.

“A total of 2,530 petitions were approved consisting of 4,125 beneficiaries,” Sebrechts said.

The 4,125 with approved CW permits represent almost 35 percent of the total number of foreign workers petitioned.
Obviously the process is faulty. It appears not enough time and manpower has been dedicated to processing the CW applications. It does not even look like all of the petitions will be processed before employers have to submit new ones for the next year.

Regardless of the program's flaws, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce is calling for an extension of the transition period of the program. They claim that the CNMI's economy depends on the foreign workers. So why then are they not appealing for the legal, long-term foreign workers to be granted permanent residency? Doing so would provide the CNMI with the needed workforce and be the right thing to do for  the foreign workers who have served the CNMI for years and decades.

It appears that the Chamber and business community support a 5 year extension of the program because it would maintain the two-tiered society with the disenfranchised underclass that was established with the abusive CNMI guest worker program. The power is with the employers as the foreign worker remain voiceless, oppressed and denied of basic democratic rights. Considering that the foreign workers make up a vast majority of the private workforce this can only be considered undemocratic and unjust by any standards.

The U.S. Congress dropped the ball. They passed the CNRA after purging it of any status provision and then failed to provide the proper oversight of the program. It is not surprising that abuses and wage theft continue. It has been reported that the foreign workers are even more reluctant to report wage theft under the federal program since most are in unstable positions lacking permits and unsure of their future status.

The federal CNMI guest worker program was slow to start and can only be viewed as a work in progress that lacks the personnel and funding needed to make it workable at the most basic level. Lacking also is a provision for status and a pathway to citizenship. Any guest worker program that does not provide a pathway to citizenship invites abuses and injustice and lacks humanity.


Anonymous said...

You are right Mam Wendy The Saipan Chamber of Commerce is in the right and strong POSITION to ask the CNMI leaders to ask Uncle Sam to grant Prmanent residency for all LEGAL Aliens here in CNMI and that will solve the problem. I don't think these Business men doing business here (telling the truth that they rely on aliens) are planing to do business here for 5 years only. And i'm not perfect but I think 5 years is not going to be enough for CNMI to have enough skilled labor force(Local) needed. Even in the field of MILITARY of which the RULE IS (DO WHAT I SAY) SOME TIMES THEY FORGET THAT THEY CAN'T ACCOMPLISH A CERTAIN GOAL OR MISSION BY THEMSELVES WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE LOWEST RANK OR THE PRIVATE. And this is same as in doing business every where I guest. THAT is their Problem here that can only be SOLVED by THEMSELVES by doing the right thing to do, Request the Governor to ask Uncle Sam to grant all Legal aliens here a Permanent residency as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Noni 1:30pm I think that your assumption or understanding of the Chamber of Commerce about requesting the CNMI leaders to request the Uncle Sam for permanent resident of all legal aliens in the CNMI is only wish full thinking on your and everybody part.The Chamber only want to extend another five years to the present situation to keep "cheap labor"
The NMI elected do not want anyway to allow the CW to get any chance to become residents as that would allow them to vote, which would mean the end of the "gravy train" for these career politicians.

The Chamber and all of the business do not want permanent residence as that would put an end to "cheap" labor and abuses.
It would allow the CW to walk and find other jobs without any restrictions. It would also allow the worker to be able to negotiate a fair pay for skilled services. NOT as is now, one pay scale fits all job jollifications.
The private sector does not want "local" labor working in the private sector that is why over the years they keept the Govt. employees wages high and the private sector low.
With most of the islands residents employed in Govt. these elected can control the family's vote and stay on the "gravy train" while the private sector can control the outside work force.
Unfortunately the fact is that as long as the CW still hang on to the hope of being granted a permanent resident and/or green card the situation in the NMI will stay the same.
Your time that you have "legally" spent in the NMI does not count "as residing in the US".
You folks might be best to go after having your "time here" being recognized and certified so that you may be able to qualify for green cards either by yourselves or in the case of employers, they could petition for green cards for you under the company.

Maybe Wendy knows more about this "time" in the CNMI and if it has ever been brought up or pursued? To who? What was the thought on it? Since "Green Cards" are not on the horizon why hasn't this avenue been gone down? (or has it?)etc.
That may be an area for Kilili to go after.