CNMI Immigration Conflicts

November 16, 2013

There is always a small, but vocal group of indigenous CNMI residents who oppose U.S. immigration reform legislation that would include a provision to grant an eventual pathway to citizenship to the CNMI's legal, long term foreign workers. This year it is Ana Teregeyo and the Northern Marianas Descent Corp. and 13 members of the CNMI House who oppose any upgraded status for these nonresident workers, who have lived and the CNMI for many years, most of them for decades.

The Saipan Tribune reported:

Rep. Felicidad Ogumoro’s (R-Saipan) HR 18-34 does not allow any provision in any pending U.S. Congress bill that would allow persons “of other ethnic origin or race who are in the [CNMI] to become U.S. permanent residents and subsequently become U.S. citizens."
Resolutions are merely official statements, but they are also historical records. Any person who would sign such a statement is declaring that he/she is a racist. Ultimately that will be their legacy.

The 13 House members who supported racist Resolution HR 18-34 that was introduced by Fitialite Felicidad Ogumoro are:
Felicidad Ogumoro (R-Saipan), floor leader Ralph Demapan (Cov-Saipan), Reps. Antonio Agulto (Ind-Saipan), Antonio Benavente (Ind-Saipan), Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan), Trenton Conner (Ind-Tinian), Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan), Christopher Leon Guerrero (Cov-Saipan), Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan), John Paul Sablan (Cov-Saipan), Teresita Santos (R-Rota), Mario Taitano (Ind-Saipan), and Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan).
The xenophobic legislators intend to send their resolution to the U.S. Congress. There it will likely have little substantial impact except to confuse and to reinforce the notion that in the CNMI there are still a number of Fitial-type racists who possess superior complexes and agendas that conflict with basic American principles.

Governor Inos supports Delegate Sablan's CNMI provision and expressed disappointment with the resolution.

The timing of the resolution supporters is interesting. The CNMI immigration provision that the legislators oppose was not a secret. It was widely publicized and in fact, the Senate immigration reform bill with the CNMI provisions already passed in July 2013.

The CNMI proposal in the immigration bills is not perfect, but it is far better than the first CNMI proposal, which was a stand-alone bill, H.R. 1466. H.R. 1466 would have given CNMI-only status to a mere 1/4 of all legal nonresidents and would have kept them permanently disenfranchised.

In April 2013 I wrote this about the CNMI provision that made it to the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill:
The CNMI provision is not perfect, but neither is the entire bill. Perfect would be a provision providing that all of the CNMI legal, longterm nonresident workers would be granted immediate permanent residency status. Perfect is not going to happen.
I share the exact sentiments expressed yesterday by President Obama: "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. "
Immigration reform has stalled in the U.S. House since Speaker Boehnner refused to let the Senate version be heard. The Huffington Post quoted Vice President Biden:
"He will not allow the House to play by fair play - the American way, to let the Congress actually vote their conscience to fix a broken system," the vice president said. 
"This is a step backward in the history of the country." Biden urged the newly sworn-in Americans to push for immigration reform to help millions of undocumented residents living "in the shadows" of the United States. 
"Don't pull up the ladder behind you," the vice president said. "There are millions of people who are already acting as decent Americans and deserve a chance, deserve a path. Reach back. Help as you move on. Don't be afraid. Lend your voice to those seeking the same rights you achieved today."
The CNMI legislators may have forgotten that not long ago they were handed U.S. citizenship. They did not have to devote years or decades of their lives as overworked and under-appreciated labor units to 'earn' their U.S. citizenship. These resolution supporters may want to contemplate the words of Vice President Biden: "Lend your voice to those seeking the same rights you achieved. . ."


Anonymous said...

These people aren't just racist they're selfish. Do any of them have OCWs working for them?

The people of the NMI want a better economy but the fact is they won't get it without skilled labor. The skilled labor force will disappear unless treated better. That's the future of the NMI. Let them live alone and have no people of other ethnic origin and race even enter. Tourists too. I hope they read this and realize they are not welcome.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with #1 comment except the sentence "The skilled labor force will disappear unless treated better".
As through the years show the outside labor force has taken the abuse that include non payments of wages and also the underpaying jobs.
Maybe if from the start they actually did continue to leave the constant abuses would not have prevailed over the years to this very day.

The "mood" would have changed with the employers, as was in the past for every one person that left there were hundreds waiting to get a job in the NMI and put up with the abuse.
Unfortunately now it is too late to change the attitude of many.

Over the years I have watched the abuse of many especially the household workers by the families and especially the kids.
Many of these kids today are the very ones that showed the disrespect to these workers as the parents left them to be raised by the domestic help while the parents spent their time in the bars, drinking on the beach or in the poker houses.
Many of the same kids are also the criminals today especially the repeat criminals.
Many are also the ones that make the biggest noise that the CW are not needed as these same people stand in line to get their food stamps then pick up cases of chicken, ribs etc. and make deals with their food stamps for the cases of beer & cigarettes then head to the beach.

Anonymous said...

These 13 CNMI lawmakers have no appreciation for long-term CNMI alien workers and forget to recognize the importance of long-term alien workers by signing an inhuman resolution. They realized, “Alien workers are continuously needed for the CNMI tourism industry”. They also supported to extend the faulty CW worker program for another 5 years. They want foreign workers to be working and someday leaving the CNMI instead of considering them to be permanent members of the CNMI community. Do they know, “How long does a foreigner worker need to serve CNMI to be considered a permanent resident worker?” They also forget who they were and how they became U.S citizens and have no respect to U.S laws. Do they want “an independent CNMI” out of USA? American people should have one vision for the entire United States of America. Ask Mr. Kilili and Mr. Inos to get the right answers or read U.S Congress or U.S Senate immigration reform bills.

Anonymous said...

Time is running out for CWs. Plan to return to your Country. Remember, you are citizens already (of the Philippines). As CWs start turning 50 and older their chances of ever getting a pathway to US Citizenship decreases with every passing year. Their chances of ever landing a plumber job, auto mechanic or any other real skilled job in the US is so remote it isn't even worth mentioning. There are many different tests and certifications that must be met - and yes age does play a role as does language and proof of an education. The United States sees CWs as refugees and not future productive Citizens. This is why the USCIS drags their feet and stalls until the number of CWs is zero.

Anonymous said...

!0:16 You are correct that many want an independent CNMI. The problem is that they also want all of the Fed handouts that the US taxpayer pays for every year.
We will see the actual thinking of the majority of the voters come election time. But then again our people only go where the strongest wind blows and easily forget when they are given beer and promised a Govt job.
I am from here but in my opinion just give these workers citizenship for the ones that have been here since 2003 or let them be able to travel elsewhere in the US or any of the territories such as Guam. (which needs workers)
Do not extend this CW program. Let all come under the "H" type visa with the high pay and regs for up to three years so they can make money and also prepare to go elsewhere to work or back to their homeland with money.
Let our people find out how much they are needed (or not)
Until these ignorant politician are dead and gone nothing will change.
Until the fed stop handing out so much funds with little accountability and make the CNMI start to stand on it's own then also nothing will change.
Another way may be to lower the requirement for a green card along with the income level to qualify.
Let all be able to apply with no waiting period.
Maybe the next US Presidential election a Rep. President will get back in and cut much of this Fed money to these territories which will force These Islands to start electing smart people.

Anonymous said...

1:44 Cruel, soulless person. No other words need be wasted on you. You'll receive the karma you deserve.

Anonymous said...

some truth in what was said by the comment of 144. Many foreign nationals want to stay in the CNMI not because it is home for the last 10-15 yrs, didn't they up and leave 'their' home of a lot longer to come here in the first place? Many would be unable to get jobs in the mainland U.S., assimilation of the foreign nationals in the CNMI is much slower, less complete than foreign nationals already on the mainland and skill sets and training are much lower. It would serve them all better if those who do, would admit that they want to stay in the U.S. because the U.S. provides better "things" to people than they can get in the home country. Honesty in this would garner more respect than the old 'woe is me I have nowhere else to go', all the while saying (psst...can I get some miles to go visit my wife/husband and kids back in my home country cuna?)

Pam Brown said...

HR 1466 still lives well and healthy within the Senate immigration reform act. It is contained in a section that is buried within the bill after the general provision that broadens the bill's application to the CNMI aliens population. Basis rules of statutory construction hold that specific language coming later in a bill/statute controls the more general provision that is contained in a earlier portion of the bill/statute. There is no change from HR 1466. Kilili's shell game is to make sure all voters, even potential voters, think he's working hard for them and only them. It is a dangerous game to play and needs to be exposed if you support legal alien rights.

Wendy Doromal said...

Hi Pam:

Thanks for your comment.
I think the 2nd provision in the Senate bill was put in after the first? The one that would include EC2 nonresidents and all other nonresidents? I do not remember reading two sections mentioning the CNMI in the initial draft. In the final draft there are sections 245B and 2109, both concerning the CNMI. I believe you are saying because the Senate bill has two conflicting CNMI provisions in the bill then only one could be recognized? Why would a bill with conflicting provisions even make it out of committee, never mind pass? If you can clarify this I will post it.

Anonymous said...

The FBI just released startling video of Al Queda terrorist cells operating in Kentucky. They were let in under the refugee resettlement program under Obama. The FBI believes there may be thousands of them. They were on video unpacking rocket launchers and machine guns. These videos will be shown to Congress before ANY immigration reform is passed. Good luck with that one.

Anonymous said...

They were let in as "war refugees" They should screen better.. .

Anonymous said...

I've just read the letter of Mr. Alfred Guerrero King, and I am so outraged.

Where the hell did he get the information that we "aliens" would like to get away with paying the fees? I've read about this "avoiding fee" for years and years. It's sickening! Where did he get that stupid idea? WTF!!

We are not sidestepping the law. We Once the "status" is granted (if ever), we will follow the procedure as we always do, we will be more than happy to PAY the "processing fee". We happen to know that there's no such thing as free except for dreaming, love and HATRED (that he surely has for aliens).

He has forgotten the past! Chamorros were not U.S. Citizens before!

Anonymous said...

Chamorros were not US Citizens before? Chamorro is a race not a national identity and not citizenship. The indigenous people in the Mariana Islands were given a choice by the United States whether or not to become US Citizens. Later the US drafted a Covenant. Of course with your vast knowledge of NMI history you would know that prior to all of this these islands were administered by the Spanish, Germans and Japanese. The Japanese pretty much enslaved these people to harvest sugarcane along with Okinawans. The US liberated the islands and gave these people a choice. They chose to be US Citizens and when the CNMI was formed they controlled their own immigration. If you want to toss your Filipino citizenship like yesterday's shoes and become a Citizen of the United States perhaps you should educate yourself and pay homage to the three thousand young men lying face down on the beach who gave their lives for these people.

Anonymous said...

In this whole controversy about our CW getting a status and/or pathway to Green Cards and Cit. the one equation has not been looked at.
That is the income requirement for a green card.
This also goes in respect to the proposal for the "illegals" in the us within this 'Immigration Reform'

Last time I knew the the minimum income was around $18k to qualify.(I may be mistaken on this)
Is the US going to lower the income requirements to accommodate all of these people to be able to apply?
Even if the Fed min wage is instituted it does not meet the requirements.

Certain groups creating a 'disaster' in their own mind and attempting to instill it in others along with the racists are barking up the wrong tree.

The scenario of us indigenous being "outvoted" is only a matter of time, it will happen with or without CW getting US Cit. status.
Although it is hard to tell just how many families have left the island and how many new voters at each election without the voting records, it seems to be almost a constant number of registered voters each election in spite of the large number of families that have/are leaving.

How many each election cycle are US children coming of age? The numbers are growing.
With an all time high of over 40K workers just how many babies were born in the NMI from the early days until now.
The elected (in conjunction with the employers) had tried to stop the births of US Cit. children by terminating pregnant females employment and shipping them back home.
The US Govt. repeatedly warned about the scenario of what had become the minority of "locals' in their homeland and to curb the importing of foreign labor but it was ignored due to the greed and the abundance of cheap labor with the lining of pockets with greenbacks of the elected.

The original concept of the importing of foreign workers was to TRAIN the local workforce and not to exceed three years each person..

Even when a few times a moratorium was imposed all it took was a few hundred dollars to get the sitting Gov. to sign a waiver to allow a new worker to come in.
I did it many times. Also a few hundred to immigration to allow many to stay.
Many Immigration workers had also sponsored many CW's and would put them out "on loan" while collecting for their services and giving them little (if any)in pay.
Same went for the elected.

Now who you going to blame? BTW Ogumoro, Paul Maglona and Fitial and so many others that are the base of this problem.

Anonymous said...


You bring up an excellent point. Most CWs fall well below the Federal income requirements for obtaining a green card:

Income Requirements

You also must meet certain income requirements (whether you are a sponsor, a joint sponsor, or a substitute sponsor). You must show that your household income is equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size. (Your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring.)

If you, the sponsor, are on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, and the immigrant you are sponsoring is your spouse or child, your income only needs to equal 100% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size.

To see if you are above the poverty level, see the “Form I-864P” page.

What are poverty thresholds?

The poverty thresholds are the original version of the federal poverty measure, which was developed by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration in the 1960s. [2] Updated each year by the Census Bureau, the thresholds are used mainly for statistical purposes–for example, preparing the estimates of the number of Americans in poverty for each year's poverty report. The measure was devised to define and quantify poverty in America, and thereby provide a yardstick for progress or regress in antipoverty efforts, and in that sense has served the nation well.

Values of the poverty thresholds for the years since 1980 for families of different sizes are available on the Census Bureau's website. The most recent values of the poverty thresholds are provided in the table below. For example, a four-person family with two adults and two children is poor with annual cash income below $23,283; the threshold for a four-person family with a single parent and three children is $23,364.

The Feds will not budge on this and here's why. Most of the CWs who get their green cards will leave island for the US. If they have less than ten thousand in their account they will not have enough to make it and wind up in a shelter. The US does not need this.