Chamber of Commerce President Proposes Inhumane Plan

July 2, 2014

For years, I have been saying there are not enough U.S. citizens to fill all the jobs in the CNMI. With the CNMI-Only Temporary Guest Worker Program ending in 2019, the only reasonable solution would be to grant permanent residency to every legal long term nonresident worker. By doing that a skilled and stable workforce would be ensured.

In a speech before the Chamber of Commerce yesterday Chamber President Alex Sablan admitted that there are not enough U.S. citizens in the CNMI to replace the foreign workers. He is concerned that when the CW Program ends in 2019 there will not be enough workers. He appealed to Governor Inos and Delegate Sablan to ask the U.S. Congress to raise the cap of foreign workers from 14,000 to 16,000 and to establish a permanent guest worker program.

How very typical of a wealthy CNMI business owner to  propose keeping de facto citizen population permanently disenfranchised rather than proposing immediate permanent residency status for every CNMI legal, long term foreign worker.

From The Saipan Tribune:
He said the CNMI already has a CW program that is CNRA-based and is specific to the Commonwealth so extending it in “perpetuity” rather than only until 2019 will meet the CNMI’s needs if it wants to continue to grow its economy. 
“Is it going to be 14,000 or 16,000? I don’t think so but I believe there needs to be something,” he added. 
Sablan, in his presentation before the Chamber membership, said there are over 17,000 foreign and U.S. workers in the private sector and some 4,200 in government. He said there won’t be enough U.S. workers to replace over 11,000 foreign workers and given the growing economy, more workers will be needed. 
“Based on the numbers we project, based on hotel rooms coming online, airlines coming in, ancillary businesses, we are going to need an additional 5,000 employees,” he later said. 
Sablan said the CNMI can bring in as much Micronesian workers as possible, which was what Guam did in the mid-’90s to fulfill its workforce needs.  
But once we exhausted that, and bring those from the U.S. mainland, we still have to look for foreign workers. What the exact number is, I don’t know [but] that’s why we’re asking the governor to commission a report. Look at the dynamics, look at the projections,” he added.
Alex Sablan stated that his plan "meets the CNMI's needs." What about the needs of loyal, dedicated and skilled foreign workers who have contributed to the CNMI for years and decades; those people who make up a majority of the CNMI's population? No thoughts or comments on their needs?

I suppose if one looks at the foreign workers as mere numbers, labor units or disposable commodities it is not necessary to consider their needs. That must be Alex Sablan's problem.

The intent of the CNRA was not to establish a permanent guest worker program, but a temporary one.

The U.S Congress does not need anymore proposals from self-serving CNMI 'leaders' or elected officials. What the U.S. Congress needs to do is to act upon the 2010 Department of the Interior recommendation as was mandated under the law.

That report stated:
"Consistent with the goals of comprehensive immigration reform, we recommend that the Congress consider permitting alien workers who have lawfully resided in the CNMI for a minimum period of five years to apply for long-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States." 


Anonymous said...

CNMI business leaders including CNMI leaders think, “They have nothing to do with the recommendations of U.S Department of Interior regarding foreign worker’s future immigration statuses in CNMI as mandated by CNRA or U.S Public law 110-229”. They also know, “It was done as U.S Congress did not do a damn thing in 2010”. Mr. Gregorio Kilili Sablan-Washington DC rep including CNMI Governor just ignored or gave a blind eye to this issue. SCC President Mr. Alex Sablan wants CW program to stay in CNMI permanently with additional 5k workers to have a strong local workforce. He just ignored the intent of U.S Congress on CNRA and requests for a federal grant to do a study. Mr. Kilili can add CW program/ E2C extension, asylum bar in territorial bills and does not like to add the issue of foreign worker’s immigration statuses. They are all on the same page and have no hearts for foreign workers. They know the problems but always tend to ignore the permanent solutions. Just wait and see when an executive order for comprehensive immigration reform act is signed by U.S president Barak Obama before the end of summer.

Anonymous said...

You quoted.the DOI report which stated Congress should consider a permanent status for those identified in the report. Are you saying they havent considered it?

I believe they have and decided they dont agree at this time. If pople beleive that their representative in Congress isnt representing them and their wishes they will vote them out this election. I beleive we will see a tsunami of folls being voted out but I dont beleive it will be those who decided not to take up the DOI on their recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Alex Sablan is not a wealthy local Wendy. He's got his share of financial problems just like the majority of them. Many Chamorro and Filipino families grew up with live in Filipina maids and nannies. Chamorros AND well to do Filipinos have it hard wired that working class Filipinos are on a much lower caste than them and that's why your contract workers may never get a fair shot. Even the Feds on Saipan and their appointees have maids....

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

“United States of America always has been a nation of immigrants”, Says President Barak Obama during celebration of Independence Day - 4th of July. Do the CNMI legislatures, Governor, CNMI-Washington DC rep, Saipan Chamber of Commerce president and its members have something to learn? CNMI leaders may dream to have a permanent faulty & discriminatory CW program in CNMI where foreign workers are often subject to exploit, labor abuse and have no basic rights to travel freely between CNMI, USA and International destination. What makes a nation stronger to consider everyone permanent member of the Community? Check your DNA to find out where you or your grandparents really came from to explore the truth.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect with the SCC President, Kilili, the Governor and other CNMI politicians? They of course would prefer to protect their own personal interests rather than that of the long-term foreign workers may it be somebody who became their close friends or a de factor relatives. CNMI is the only place on the face of this earth where these workers are not humanely rewarded. Employers knew of the broken system when wages needs to be a status quo "as always". Once you hear of a foreign workers' salary especially when the amount is extra-ordinary, ask how much of it is going back to the employers in the form of barracks or housing unit rent, food, uniforms, share on meals etc.
Employers found ways to get even with their employees in case of a salary rate increase by charging and getting more from their employees than the increase to be given away to their deserving workers. As early as now, they are thinking ahead of September increase on ways to get it back from the foreign workers. U.S. mainland has a problem of their own especially these times and no one would turn their eyes into the small islands here in the Pacific. I hope the President would include CNMI in his executive order in whatever form. By doing this, nobody in the CNMI would claim that they did it to my long term foreign worker friends and they would announce it over and over again it to win their hearts as a debt of gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Aint going to be any executive order for the CNMI. Congress has already spoken in 2008 with the CNRA and again by not approving any other bill for immigration since. Be smart and make plans to leave if you are not eligible for a current status. If you dontbit is no omels fault but your own.

Anonymous said...

8:50 What do you know about CNRA? It was not properly drafted. An immigration provision for CNMI long-term workers was there. It was successfully removed by CNMI government with the assistance of Guam supremacist group. And the freedom of long-term workers was skipped to pass CNRA or U.S public law 110-229. U.S Congress was required under CNRA to act on DOI's recommendation for improved immigration status for these long-term alien workers. But they failed as it is controlled by U.S Republicans. CNMI governor chooses to be republican party member? Do you know why? CNMI leaders choose to keep alien workers just like as slaves. Every person deserves to have equal right. CNMI governor Mr. Eloy Inos and Washington DC rep Mr. Kilili do not believe this.

Anonymous said...


Go to your country and tell that to your president or governor.