Senate Immigration Reform Bill Summary Unveiled

April 16, 2013

“They get involved in all the cases of human rights abuses in other countries…”, he said again...“But here in their territory – why do they do nothing?” Rudy Francisco

Today the U.S. Senate was scheduled to unveil its proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill. The House version is expected to follow. So far only a summary of the bill has been released. It did not include any provisions specific to the CNMI nonresidents, whether in or out-of-status.

President Obama urged the Senators to move toward a vote saying he supports the bipartisan plan in principle:
The White House 
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                                                    April 16, 2013
Statement by the President on Commonsense Immigration Reform 
This afternoon, Senators Schumer and McCain briefed me on the bipartisan immigration reform bill that they have drafted with their colleagues in the Senate. This bill is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me. But it is largely consistent with the principles that I have repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform. This bill would continue to strengthen security at our borders and hold employers more accountable if they knowingly hire undocumented workers. It would provide a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals who are already in this country illegally. And it would modernize our legal immigration system so that we’re able to reunite families and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers who will help create good paying jobs and grow our economy. These are all commonsense steps that the majority of Americans support. I urge the Senate to quickly move this bill forward and, as I told Senators Schumer and McCain, I stand willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible.
What interests me is what final provisions for in-status and out-of-status CNMI nonresidents will look like in the bill.  Will provisions for CNMI nonresidents even be included in the bill or will they fall under the general U.S. provisions?

If there are CNMI-specific provisions in the bill will the legal CNMI nonresidents be given a direct pathway to U.S. citizenship? Will the bill discriminate against those who do not have a U.S. citizen child or spouse, as H.R. 1466 did? If a provision is included for those equally qualifying nonresidents without an immediate relative spouse or child will they have to jump through more hoops than those with a U.S. citizen immediate relative?

Will the out-of-status workers and nonresidents in the CNMI  have a pathway to citizenship as the undocumented aliens in the U.S. are certain to be given? Most of the undocumented aliens in the CNMI are waiting for their court settlements and labor decisions to be honored. Will they finally be made whole by being granted a pathway to U.S. citizenship? Or will they remain injured victims because both the CNMI and US Governments failed to enforce laws or take any action to ensure that the cheated nonresidents received their hard earned wages and fair treatment?

The poster boy for the plight of the CNMI's cheated foreign workers may just be Rudy Francisco. Rudy was issued a $27,000 judgement from the CNMI Department of Labor years ago. He has been languishing in Saipan trying to collect the money. He deserves that payment. He worked for it. He earned it. His story was published in several articles in the CNMI and international press.

Still the United States Government has done nothing for Rudy or the thousands of other CNMI nonresidents who had wages stolen, contracts broken and dreams destroyed. Will they step up now and make it right? We are watching.

Again, so far all that has been unveiled today is a summary of the bill, which contains no provisions specific to the CNMI. Of course, this does not mean that the bill does not have provisions. Below is the summary:


Anonymous said...

How do you assess taxes for an undocumented worker who worked illegally for years in the US? Do you think their employer filed correctly. Go ahead Feds, open that can of worms and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

it's probably best if Kilili Sablan keeps his NMI special rules out of the bill. Then the NMI would not have laws different from US that would be less fair for NMI's aliens.