September 26, 2014
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga signed the bill. He was quoted:
“The people we are talking about are contributing members of society, in some cases along with their families, who have fallen into circumstances not always of their own making,” Moliga said in a Tuesday letter sent to lawmakers informing them the bill has been signed.
“We owe them the opportunity to become full-fledged members of the community so they can fully partake in all community affairs and be fully counted for public planning purpose when federal assistance decisions are made arising out of our population count,” he said.Meanwhile U.S. Delegate Gregorio (Kilili) Sablan has been silent on a bill to grant status to the CNMI's aliens. Instead, he talks only of extending the flawed U.S. CNMI-Only Transitional Immigration Program until 2019. He seeks to extend the E-2 CNMI Investor visa, the exemption from the national limit on H visas and the exemption from U.S. asylum laws – all provisions of H.R. 110-229 that are set expire on December 31, 2014.
Sablan's September 25, 2014 press release stated:
“When the commonwealth government was in charge of immigration, those 261 foreign investors who now hold E-2 CNMI visas were promised they could stay if they put their money into the Northern Marianas economy. I believe we have an obligation to keep that promise, and we certainly cannot afford to see those investments leave our economy.
“There is opposition here in the Marianas, too, from some who say that Public Law 110-229 and the policies it put in place violated the Covenant and that there should be no extension. These local opponents add to the difficulty of passing a bill in Congress. They make it harder to legislate policies to allow the Northern Mariana Islands economy to rebound from an almost 10-year period of economic decline. They make it harder for us to keep the commonwealth’s promise to 261 foreign investors. They make it harder for us to be sure we have access to temporary construction workers to build over 2,000 hotel rooms commonwealth elected officials have been promised in the coming years.Extending an insecure status just extends the uncertainty for the affected foreigners. The obligation that should be met, is to grant them upgraded status to them. How long have they contributed to the economy and paid taxes?
The same can be said for the legal, long-term foreign workers. The CNMI should feel obligated to grant them permanent residency status too.
This month USCIS set the limit of alien workers at 13,999 for fiscal year 2015 stating:
DOL found that the majority of the CNMI’s current labor supply is provided by foreign workers. DOL indicated that the studies unanimously concluded that restrictions on the foreign labor supply will exacerbate the CNMI’s current economic problems and restrain current economic growth. In examining the unemployment rate, the labor force, and the number of jobs available in the CNMI, DOL also determined that even if all the U.S. workers in the labor force were employed, a significant number of jobs would still need to be filled by foreign workers. On the need for foreign workers to fill specific industry jobs, CNMI government officials reported to DOL that legitimate businesses in the CNMI have difficulty finding qualified applicants for skilled jobs who are U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. DOL thus concluded that there are an insufficient number of U.S. workers available to meet CNMI’s businesses’ current needs, and that a five-year extension of the CW-1 program is warranted.
For the aforementioned reasons, DHS recognizes that any numerical limitation must account for the fact that the CNMI economy continues to be based on a workforce comprised primarily of foreign workers. Therefore, any new fiscal year numerical limit must allow for economic growth until the end of the transitional worker program, which is now December 31, 2019.The business owners and haters in the CNMI want to benefit and take, take, take from the foreign investors and the foreign workers by keeping them perpetually disenfranchised, voiceless and under their thumbs. This has been their attitude for decades. They will not change their attitude because they do not have to. The system allows them to fill their pockets at the expense of the sacrificing legal nonresidents. Their brazen greed knows no bounds.
Only the U.S. Congress can take action to stop this shame on U.S. soil. Unfortunately it too is self-serving, devoid of compassion and lacking a sense of justice.