Another Glitch in the CNMI-Only Transitional Program

December 7, 2012

The problems with the CNMI-Transitional Worker Program continue. USCIS could not manage to get the original I-129CW applications reviewed and processed within a reasonable time and now they announce another glitch.

David Gulick, the USCIS Honolulu director, announced that CW workers will not be allowed to work while they wait for their renewal permit, but they can remain in the CNMI.

Gulick recommended that employers file application renewals 90 days before the expiration of the original permit.  That advice should be considered hollow considering that there is a significant number of the original I-129CW petitions that still have not been processed. In fact, only about half of the original petitions have been processed by November 2012, almost a year after they were submitted.

By March 2012 only one-fifth of the CW petitions that had been submitted from October 2011 had been processed. 

By July 2012 only 5,911 of the total 12,139 CW petitions had been processed. At this time when asked about the delay, a USCIS spokesperson said they had no intention of increasing the staff. In other words, USCIS saw no problem with the unacceptably long processing time. Workers and employers could look forward to more suffering, uncertainty and problems associated with the delay.

By September USCIS had processed 6020 I-129CW petitions or about half of the 12,139 CW petitions that had been submitted.

By November 13, 2012,  6,220 petitions representing 1, 863 different employees had been reviewed. A total of 4,896 petitions representing 8,733 beneficiaries had been approved and 418 petitions representing 612 beneficiaries had been denied.  A spokesperson stated that the remaining petitions required additional evidence.

Let's look at this. If a foreign worker's original CW permit expires and the renewal permit has not been processed, that foreign worker will be allowed to stay on U.S. soil for however long it takes to process the renewal CW permit; however he/she will not be allowed to work until the permit is approved. Considering the USCIS snail's pace track record, how does USCIS imagine that these people will be able to survive without an income to pay for food, pay for health care expenses, or to pay necessary bills like rent, utilities and such?

How could the employer run his or her business without the skilled employee? Will they just scramble to find a U.S. citizen replacement? That shouldn't be easy, since they would have already gone through the process of eliminating any qualified U.S. applicant. How will this impact CNMI's already rock bottom economy?

Amazingly, David Gulick stated that "it could be an opportunity for the employer to allow the worker to go on vacation while the renewal application is pending."

Most of the foreign workers earn less than $6.00 an hour and many have no savings. Their employers do not provide paid vacation time, and most do not even provide sick leave. Where does Gulick suggest that they vacation? The Salvation Army food line? I doubt that any forced "vacation" will be appreciated by anyone. What is restful about trying to figure out how you and your family will survive?

As the latest CNMI census records indicate, there are not enough local people to fill all the positions in the private sector in the CNMI. According to the 2010 Census, of the 53,883 making up the total population of the CNMI, 18,800 were Pacific Islanders while 26,908 were Asians. The reports shows that 24,826 people were employed in the CNMI with 19,092 in the private sector, 5,313 in government sector, and the remaining were self-employed or unpaid working family members. Since there were over 12,000 petitions for foreign workers submitted in 2011, one can assume that the majority of the workers in the private sector are foreigners.

We should recognize that the CNMI-Only Transitional Guest Worker Program regards the foreign workers as applicants on paper to be processed, rather than as human beings. The program lacks humanity. Suggestions that it should be a "model" for the nation sickens me.

Isn't it time to stop the flawed and expensive CNMI-Only Transitional Worker Program and issue green cards to all of the legal, long term foreign workers in the CNMI?


Anonymous said...

its sucks...its an open discrimination with innocent legal cnmi workers...and its happening under obama powerful nation...where is the UN/human rights group now? its must be consider like an terrorist activity with innocent human.USCIS has no shame mr.gulik is laughing on legal workers.this un-humanity system brought by USCIS/house of congress/dirty politicians.its not good to harm innocent human being for your selfish benefits USCIS.your system harmed innocents.u didnt investigate anything about CNMI before u took over...workers has always supported local system..workers love USA.not ur harmful system....enough is enough mr. the right will help u and ur nation...godbless USA

Anonymous said...

After all that you end with "godbless USA". I suggest you return to whatever country you came from. The US is a generous Nation. Try Dhaka or Manila. There's a reason why both countries' biggest export are human beings sold as dirt cheap labor and their money remitted back into two of the most corrupt nations on Earth. Sounds like you might just need a vacation.

The US is overwhelmed with immigration problems and now the Feds are in charge of the CNMI. Raise your hands if this "transition" has made your lives easier. Perhaps you should have read the fine print. Better yet, please point out where it says "Green Card" anywhere in the law. Sorry to say but Federal officials do not know your names. They don't know how much money you have and they could care less if you can afford to go to Bali for a two week vacation with the family. Oh wait you can't. You just can't leave and return legally. Welcome to Federalization. You asked for it and you certainly have it.

Anonymous said...

This not being allowed to work while awaiting paperwork only perpetuates the low wages in the CNMI.
The CW has to look for "illegal" jobs just to survive. The employers like this as they can now take advantage of the many as they will not be able to complain.
This in itself will bring on much more abuse that will not be reported.
With so many workers not able to work these employers will not need to hire anybody legitimately, they will only need to hire "under the table" workers for less than minimum wages and no over time and shorted paychecks.

Wendy Doromal said...


You epitomize the anti-immigrant sentiment of the far right and those who are contributing to the shriveling of our nation's heart and soul. The U.S. is a country of immigrants. I'm going to guess that you are not a native American? You (thank God) do not get to tell who stays and who leaves in the USA. Why would you attack another country because it is poor and doesn't have the resources or strong economy of the U.S.? Where a person is born is an accident of birth. Why attack a person because they were born in a struggling nation?

The U.S. has immigration problems because the U.S. Congress and federal government have let the problems happen, have perpetuated the broken immigration systems and have made decades of excuses for not fixing it. We have an immigration problem because elected officials are not doing their jobs and anti-immigrant talking heads promote the hated and lies. The reality is that the immigrants -illegal or legal - contribute to the U.S. economy and to our quality of life. Try to find a U.S. citizen to toil in the fields under adverse conditions, to scrub toilets all day, to work in smelly packing houses. Show me those replacements.

No one asked for a poorly thought out, half-heartedly run temporary CNMI immigration system that would hurt the workers, the employers and ultimately the economy.

Perhaps you could take your ugly hated and try to channel it. Maybe your could volunteer for Karidat or the Salvation Army.

Wendy Doromal said...


You are exactly right. The wolves will be out -every scam artist, every cheating employer will step up their game and cheat the desperate foreign workers who need to feed themselves and their families. This makes me literally sick. The CNMI-Only Transitional Worker Program is more than a disappointment - it is absolutely inhumane.

Anonymous said...

local/USCIS/house of congress has created system worse then terrorism. isn't it? obviously they played with innocent cnmi workers from last how many decades by news paper and giving false hope every month that usa will take over the cnmi and every foreigner will get greencard. it was an dirty political game to keep this workers to stay cnmi so they can continue abuse/slavery them and they success on that game.terrorist are better then those people who played with.terrorist shoot one time but this system give them slow poison.not dead shot one time.workers are here for how many years with abuse/slavery/harassed/discriminated/most of cheated by employer.who played with them?the game was multiple advantage/benefits for vote bank plus cheat innocents. local government plus federal govt and USCIS.who is responsible for this dirty scam? foreigners ?not at all.its goes to under USA govt. account.they are most responsible for this and they must end off soon as a possible because its not right to harm innocent human being.this cheating game to innocents will continued by USCIS. only can end by right justice/decisions.hope obama administration step in....i guess...must be soon as a possible.may godbless usa

Anonymous said...

I sure hope you are not that naive Wendy. The reason almost half CWs are pending is because the USCIS had to send out RFEs on almost all of those. that comes from the shady dealings of not only these so called business that have requested CWs but from the guest workers themselves trying to pull a scam with bogus paperwork and even bogus businesses. You think the USCIS is going to give something even more important like a green card to people whose paperwork is fraught with bogus documents and information?? makes you wonder how many of these guest workers who are unemployed but really want to stay in the CNMI so they apply for parole are surviving if you state those with jobs couldn't make it if they couldn't work. Now i hear if you ever were granted a cw and lose your job you cant be given parole because at one time you were admitted to the US by the CW. The goal of federalization was not to give green cards to everyone it was to tranisition from foriegn workers to US workers. that is what it is doing. how many "skilled" workers does it take to work in th hundreds of little grocery stores and tire shops we have in the CNMI????

Anonymous said...

No I am not responsible for who can stay or go Wendy. Neither are you. Ultimately President Obama makes that call and just to point out a little known fact: Obama has deported more aliens than George Bush ever did. Undocumented workers have been locked away, deported and separated from family. Tens of thousands of them. Some are criminals some aren't. It's very difficult for a far left wing Liberal to stomach but under Obama who is of African decent more immigrants have been sent packing. He made an important decision. Allow the legal immigrants to continue their process to becoming full US Citizens. These are mainly people with something to offer. Investors, college students, basically people with money. I know that's very difficult to connect with but it is the truth.

Anonymous said...

The above anon is completely on the mark. I haven't read a more clear and concise explanation of Federalization and it's purpose.

Anonymous said...

A skilled worker can get an H-1 visa and 5 years later a green card with 12 years work experience even without college if their paperwork isn't fraudulent, as many here have already received.

There are still MANY US citizens that are unemployed and can't find work because so many small employers aren't under the minimum wage guidlines and employers here don't hire US citizens. US citizens ask questions and complain when labor laws are broken and they expect fair compensation for their work, something that won't likely happen with so many unemployed aliens willing to work cheap.

Anonymous said...

The idea that USCIS will have all petitions adjudicated and be able to begin processing renewals by January 1, 2013 is totoally obviscated by the issuance of two year parole status to any IR of a US citizen. If RFE's are the reason for the delay in processing then why issue them with 90 to 120 day response time periods? This is so embarrassing. No wonder there are 13 million illegals in the US.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Just keep working. The USA is saying they are going to turn a blind eye to it, just like they do in the mainland.

Wendy Doromal said...

6:21 Whose job is it to regulate businesses and give out licenses? The corrupt CNMI government is responsible for all of the "little shops". You see abuse? Report it. Do something. That is not the topic of this post.

Foreign workers are cheated and scammed every day. I am talking about the workers.

Do you read this blog? I always promote green cards for legal, long-term foreign workers. There are legal foreign workers in the CNMI who have no other home -who have lived there longer than they have lived in their homelands, who have sacrificed and worked for decades. They DESERVE green cards. Oh and yes, I was told that after federalization the long term foreign workers would get green cards. That is why I supported the inferior bill after the grandfathering clause was removed through the efforts of Fitial and Guam's leaders.