What is Justice?

July 6, 2014

From The Saipan Tribune, by Jayson Camacho
What more appropriate time to discuss liberation, justice and freedom than the CNMI's Liberation Day Parade?

An alien worker carried a sign that read, "Alien worker we deserve improved status" on one side of the sign and "Justice" on the other. Improved status and justice have been denied the legal, long term foreign workers for decades. Good for him!

But, apparently the foreign worker who wore shackles and chains while carrying the sign calling for improved status hit some nerves among at least one CNMI politician. U.S. Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan was quoted by The Saipan Tribune as criticizing the man:
Sablan said the depiction is “false” because no one is being forced to remain in the CNMI. He said the depiction would hurt rather than help the cause of long-term foreign workers for an improved immigration status. 
“Every individual here has the right to free expression, that’s protection [provided for by] both the U.S. and NMI Constitutions. I think it’s an appropriate display of a statement that is false. No one in the Northern Mariana Islands—whether you are a United States citizen or a citizen of a third country—are in shackles here. No one here is being forced to remain here, so that was a wrong message,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune. 
Sablan, who ensured that national immigration reform bills would have provisions giving an opportunity for qualified long-term legal aliens to apply for “green card” which is pathway to U.S. citizenship, said it’s “unfortunate” that someone would resort to a misleading and false depiction of nonresidents’ situations in the CNMI. “Not the sign, but the fact that’s he in chain and lock. That doesn’t help. It hurts him rather that it helps him. Just untrue and it doesn’t help to advance the conversation on the matter. Unfortunately, he’s wrong,” the delegate added. 
As for the word “justice” on the placard, Sablan asked, “Justice before the court? Justice for what? No one here is under any restraint to stay here. Everyone is free. They can get up and leave any time they want to.”
I disagree with Sablan. I think the man's depiction is accurate and courageous. Shackles and chains can represent many things. Chained and shackled to a disenfranchised status, for instance. How long have foreigners in the CNMI been chained to the nonresident worker status; been disenfranchised; been denied of basic rights; been forced to jump through bureaucratic hoops to travel to see their own families? Years? Decades?

While no one is "forced" to stay in the CNMI, as the delegate stated, many thousands of the CNMI's legal long term foreign workers have spent their entire adult lives working in the CNMI, positively contributing to the community and bolstering the economy. They stay with the hope that one day the U.S. Congress will do the right thing and they will finally be granted the improved status that they deserve! They stay because they no longer have a "home" to return to! They stay because there are more opportunities for their U.S. citizen children.

The delegate thinks the lock and chains are "just untrue". I think they are spot on!

The delegate also misunderstood the protester's call for "justice":
 He said, "As for the word “justice” on the placard, Sablan asked, “Justice before the court? Justice for what? No one here is under any restraint to stay here. Everyone is free. They can get up and leave any time they want to.”
Justice does not just mean freedom of movement. Justice is a guest worker program with a pathway to citizenship. Justice is having a vote and representation in a land that you have lived more years than in the country where you were born. Justice is being able to travel freely like the "guest" workers in the mainland can –from state to state and to homelands without having to fill out pages of forms or pay fees. Justice is being respected. Justice is being paid a living wage for every hour that one works. Justice is being free from discrimination and xenophobia. Justice is being viewed as a human being rather than as a labor unit. Justice is equality. Justice is having someone ask you what you mean rather than having people interpret what you mean without even having a discussion with you.

As for the man hurting the alien workers' cause or his image. Ridiculous! The only image that may have been further hurt is the image of the CNMI, which is well-known as a place on U.S. soil where foreigners are exploited and treated as disposable commodities.

Ridiculous too is the suggestion that the chains and shackles "don't advance conversation". That representation absolutely is advancing conversation! He got noticed enough for the CNMI's U.S. Delegate to make a lengthy statement to the media.

Congratulations to the courageous protester who obviously got his message across.

Congratulations also to Rita Doca for being named First Princess in the Liberation Day Court!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this but Federalization of immigration hurt the guest workers more than any other condition. They (CWs) are not only trapped in the CNMI for the time being but will be forced to depart on a Federally mandated date! They should have never marched for Federalization and those few leaders who were basically basking in the their own hubris knew better. I challenge anyone to list three positive outcomes of Federalization. Just three. Even guest worker leaders are agreeing with this. This will come back to haunt those who are now running for office and who supported the Unity march activists.

Anonymous said...

Kilili should have kept his mouth shut. Really what was he thinking? I guess he wasn't. To criticize someone who stands for the oppressed alien workers? Not cool.

Anonymous said...

kilili must return my FICA money i paid for last 8 years i want to go home now if my all FICA/SSA returned one time.can any one help me to do so?????????i am with wrong americans..are USA most people got same attitude just like kilili...shame on

Anonymous said...

10:40AM Look, no one thought that the intent of the CNRA would be ignored. One intent was to grant legal long-term OCWs permanent residency. No one imagined that the U.S. Congress would become a divided group of politicians who do not deserve a job or a paycheck. The leaders of the unity march could not predict we'd have selfish leaders in DC. No one suspected the U.S. would start to fail and fall. It has.

Anonymous said...

5:57

FICA money is not reimbursed in a lump sum. It is taken out for retirement or disability and you can collect it for those two scenarios. You need 40 quarters (10 years) to qualify to collect SS when you reach retirement age. See: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10035.pdf

It's not your money! said...

Oh, gee, Anon 10:40. I think I can come up with more than three.

1. The Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program, under which visitors can travel to the CNMI without first obtaining a visa.
2. Exemption from the cap on H visas, which applies to the rest of the U.S. Employers in the CNMI can apply for unlimited H visas.
3. Restrictions on the number of alien workers entering the CNMI. No longer will the number of foreign workers be determined by payoffs to CNMI officials.
4. Regulation and enforcement of immigration laws that can't be gotten around by paying money to CNMI officials.
5. Availability of green-card status for recipients of some employment-based visa categories.
6. Over $6.5 million in education and worker training funds from DOL, DOI and DHS mandated by the CNRA. These funds will help train local workers to enter the private sector.

I could give you many more if I thought about it for more than 30 seconds.

Wendy Doromal said...

Thanks It's Not Your Money!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:19 PM

2. Exemption from the cap on H visas, which applies to the rest of the U.S. Employers in the CNMI can apply for unlimited H visas.

These H-1B visa holders are now in limbo!!!!! The Labor Condition Application [LCA] especially for Accountants/Auditors are being denied by U.S Department of Labor due to the "SOURCE" of the prevailing wages they put on the application. You cannot use the outdated 2011 Saipan Chamber of Commerce wage survey as the source of information otherwise it would be 100% denied!!!!! Some companies who are earning well used the Guam prevailing wages and these companies would not share these infos due to internal restrictions. Clock is ticking and most H-1B and H4 visas are expiring this NOVEMBER but people in authority are dragging their feet to help these people/companies out. These are considered tortures to these people who do not know what they are going to do in regards to their companies LCA which is the starting step for H-1B renewal. NOW, CAN ANYBODY OFFER ASSISTANCE TO THESE PEOPLE OR COMPANIES BY GIVING THE SOURCE AND PREVAILING WAGES OF THEIR APPROVED LCA OR EVEN PUBLISHING THE SAME OR GIVE LINK TO THE GUAM PREVAILING WAGES FOR ACCOUNTANTS/AUDITORS AND ENGINEERS? Anyway, you can keep your identity hidden as anon. MR. KILILI SABLAN, I DO HOPE THAT YOU WILL READ THIS AND HELP OUT!

Anonymous said...

719

Nothing you listed applies to the CNMI CWs!

Anonymous said...

5:58
Huh ? Did you actually read the law ? Of course not. No where in any of the writing does it say anything about granting long term guest workers with anything. Nothing. These were just made up stories by the unity march leaders to garner support. In fact the law is clear: Zero out all contract workers. Pictures of the unity march leaders will be posted this November. Those running for office who supported the Federal takeover will lose.

Anonymous said...

CW program is similar to a prison. it says to a foreign worker, "You work and keep your mouth shut because if you loose CW status then you are deportable. It is a hidden threat to a foreign worker". CW program does not provide freedom to a foreign worker to travel and does not give guarranty to obtain a U.S visa. Mr. Kilili is angry to that signage because he does not intend to give "Freedom to these long-term alien workers in CNMI".

It's not your money! said...

Anon 10:30

Apparently, not all H1B visa holders are in limbo. This is from the Saipan Tribune:

"From Nov. 28, 2009, to March 31, 2014, there were 230 applications for H1B and H2B visas from CNMI employers, data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services shows.

Of these H visa applications, 136 or 59 percent were approved; 79 applications were denied.

Of the 136 approved, 135 were for H1B visas and only one for H2B visas."

There should be a prevailing wage survey, and when the feds get around to doing it (they take their sweet time on everything, don't you know), this will be an even greater benefit the CNRA will have conferred on the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

Umm how much you wanna bet the guy in chains abused the CNMI visa waiver program and overstayed the legally authorized time allowed to be in the US. Yet wants to cry about justice? Pot meet kettle it is just another situation that is turning even those sympathetic to a cause off, look at how inept and unjust to law abiding intending immigrants the situation on the border is. Immigration reform and status for illegals is being shot in the foot by the acions taking on the border and this administration. Say hello to a republican senate in November and more stringent laws to be voted on. the old give an inch try and take a mile attitude of illeglas and their supporters isbbiting in the backside..

Wendy Doromal said...

4:35 Really? You are going to claim the guy is overstaying because??? Why? Because that what you want to believe about all nonresidents? That somehow THEY are to blame for their stagnant status? How racist and discriminatory!

The Republicans blocked all efforts to reform our broken immigration system and then they claim it is Obama's fault -really disingenuous and harmful to all. Our immigration system is a mess and the Congressional Republican leadership is to blame.

Anonymous said...

President Obama could have granted blanket amnesty the moment he was sworn in Wendy. He did not. Barack Obama has deported more "immigrants" than Bush and Clinton combined. Save the blame the Republicans for their plight routine. Obama chose not to grant amnesty.

Wendy Doromal said...

9:00 Under what authority could/can President Obama grant blanket amnesty?

Anonymous said...

9:00 The Emigration and Control Act of 1986 where Reagan (Simpson Mazzolli Act) Was signed int law by Ronald Reagan.
This took an act of Congress. the US President has no authority to grant broad amnesty to any aliens, legal or otherwise.
Best do some research and maybe learn. If it was that simple much may be different.
But NOW as Obam has instructed his staff to look at just what he actually is allowed to do within the law to actually change some things in this immigration issue.
So we shall see what will come about. Good day.

Anonymous said...

SIMPLE....If the CNMI is really a bad U.S. territory, pack up and go home...STOP COMPLAINING!! :)

Anonymous said...

You do some research.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/07/17/203030968/obama-could-declare-an-immigration-amnesty-but

"Probably not" is obviously not the same as "no" or "never." So Obama seems to be keeping the option available to himself even as he puts the onus on Congress to achieve an immigration overhaul that includes a path to citizenship, known to its detractors as "amnesty."

And it is a very real, if highly unlikely, option for the president. Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president broad pardon powers, even to the extent of granting amnesties to those who've violated federal law.

Amnesty dates to the earliest days of the republic. Like many presidential traditions, it began with President George Washington, who offered an amnesty to participants in 1794's Whiskey Rebellion, a violent tax revolt in Western Pennsylvania. More recently, Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter gave amnesties to Vietnam War-era draft evaders.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I see nothing racist in the comment about the 'protester' being possibly an overstayer. Using the racist label is a weak fallback defense. There is nothing broken with the immigration system, more an unwillingness to enforce the laws on the books, everify is a huge one if folks want to complain about the businesses hiring illegal aliens as being the culprits. This administration has refused to enforce immigration laws that are on the books and taken all kinds of policy changes to undermine the current laws, see DACA, the rise of UACs entering the country coincides with the policy being announced in 2012 and has continued to the announcement of the renewel. People claim the administration has deported more people than any other admin. That is factually wrong when a direct comparision is made as DHS has admitted the way they began counting numbers of removals changed under this admin. Most major newspapers covered this and Politifact ranked this claim of most removals under their fact checker as a whopper. Removals for the current year are hundreds of thousands less than previous years per numbers released by DHS. This is a watershed moment for the US and I think the overreach by this admin will lead to a republican senate and houae in November as many non progressive Dems and most independents see what this admin is trying to do, especially on immigration and they aren't comfortable with it. Before you say the republicans lost the immigrant vote for ever you need to research the surveys done of Legal Immigrants of all races and see their feelings on granting illegal aliens a pathway. A wide majority of legal aliens disagree with this administrations actions....

Wendy Doromal said...

4:33 Suggesting that the protestor is violating the law is racist and discriminatory. You suggest that he protests unjust treatment so he illegal. (You said: "Umm how much you wanna bet the guy in chains abused the CNMI visa waiver program and overstayed the legally authorized time allowed to be in the US. Yet wants to cry about justice?")

Educated people on all sides of the immigration debate admit that the system is broken and unworkable! The Obama Administration has enforced the laws. The Republican leadership has continued to act as obstructionists by refusing to allow immigration reform bills to be voted on.

Anonymous said...


The latest insult to Americans is the announcement that the TSA is now allowing illegal aliens to fly with no ID requirement. This amounts to a "security amnesty" that allows unknown persons who include narco gang members to board commercial airplanes in the U.S. and take to the skies in the very same kind of jets that caused the 9/11 catastrophe.
How insane is this going to get before Americans demand we enforce the laws at the border?
http://www.naturalnews.com/045974_illegal_aliens_security_amnesty_TSA.html
check this out, is this a kind of Presidential Act?

Anonymous said...

8:32 U.S Republicans are cowards. They think if they vote on immigration reform, most chairs in U.S Congress may be taken over by U.S Democrats. They are so greedy that they do not want to give a chance “Obama care” to go on. Mr. John Boehner-House speaker intends to sue U.S president Barak Obama for Obama care or health care. U.S Republicans tried to repeal “Obama care” 50 times in U.S Congress but failed. Now they plan to take it to the court. CNMI government teams in a hurry pretend to be Republicans only to get the support of culprit U.S Republicans. U.S president will do everything that is good for Americans, U.S economy to recover and to prove to be the leading country of the world, no matter how some crazies are leveling his great work. Just remember that U.S President Mr. Barak Obama is a Nobel peace prize winner. Does this mean something to you? Find out what does a person require to get recognized as “a Nobel peace prize winner”?

Anonymous said...

Nobel peace prize ? For what ? Obama has been called the Drone Killer having killed more people with drones than any other President. The Nobel committee has asked him to return the peace prize. How about the NSA spying on Americans? The admitted lying about keep your insurance to get votes?

http://www.thefinaledition.com/article/nobel-committee-asks-obama-nicely-to-return-peace-prize.html

Anonymous said...

9:12 the Nobel committee asked him to return his peace prize? Like hell!

Anonymous said...

Actually.Prez Obama was.given the peace prize before he did anything. This comment is typical of the low information voters that got a speech maker elected as Prez. Sad thing is there are still a bunch of these folks who believe this inexperienced speech maker has done a good job. That is what is truly scary. Many many independent thinking voters who may ahve been disillusioned by Bush and were swayed by the speech makers words have come to regret their vote based on the actions that the speech maker has done since elected. If 99% of the Aferican American community, 100+ % in some urban locales hadn" voted for him solely because he looked like them he would have never been in the WH. remember his mother is white and he was raised solely by white relatives in white communities, heck I am as much African American as he is growing up white in the "hood' on the east side of Detroit. Sadly the low info voters and fanatical dems continue to give him a pass. that is what he counts on though he couldn't care less about them..

Anonymous said...

the nobel peace prize! ha! Obama fooled the UN panel like he did the American voters..... Didn't Al gore win one of those??? HAHAHAHA there's your sign about how far that prize has fallen hehehehe,,,,,,but no wait you keep believing that Obama is the one we have been waiting for, is not that what he said, yeah just like he was going to stop the oceans from rising and the whole world would love the U.S. with him in charge......look around the Mideast, asia, and hell even our staunchest ally German has kicked out the top U.S. intel guy cause of Obama's policies......... loser all the way around.....

Anonymous said...

1:57 The Nobel Committee never asked President Obama to return his peace prize. The story you quoted was satire. http://news.msn.com/rumors/rumor-obama-asked-to-return-nobel-peace-prize

It is important that when you state "facts" you know that the sources are reliable.

Anonymous said...

"Congratulations also to Rita Doca for being named First Princess in the Liberation Day Court!"...Why not congratulate the whole royal court?...Shows who is the racist 2.

Wendy Doromal said...

I know the Doca Family and Rita. I do not know the whole court, which is why I personally congratulated her.