July 21, 2013
|Nonresidents and children wait for DOI Assistant Secretary Elaine Sobeck|
Photo by Itos Felicano ©2013
Some CNMI nonresidents and their children gathered with a huge banner and some placards outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel today to send a message to the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary Elaine Sobeck. Their message – Keep the Ombudsman Office open.
The DOI's Office of Insular Affairs scheduled the closure of the Federal Ombudsman Office for September 2013 without any hearings or public input. The amount of $250,000 was already identified in the 2014 federal budget for the office's operating expenses.
The Ombudsman Office provides essential services to the CNMI's large population of nonresidents, including translation services. The services that are provided cannot be obtained at any other public or private offices in the CNMI.
Workers and advocates are not the only ones calling for the office to remain open. Senator Ron Wyden, Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Congressman George Miller (D-CA) a longtime supporter of reform and justice for the foreign workers of the CNMI, have both sent letters to DOI Secretary Sally Jewel to request that the office remain open. The letters also asked for answers to 13 specific questions regarding the closure. To date a reply has not been received.
|Nonresidents at the Hyatt Regency with Signs for DOI Assistant Secretary Sobeck|
The petition outlines the reasons that it must remain open:
You can sign the petition by clicking this link:
- House Member Joins Senator in Decrying Closure of Ombudsman Office
- Worker Groups United in Their Support to Keep Ombudsman Office Open
- More on the Closure of the Ombudsman Office
- Senator Wyden Protests Closure of Ombudsman Office
- Please Sign the Petition to Keep the Ombudsman Office Open!
- OMBUDSMAN OFFICE TO CLOSE