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S. 1634, The Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act (366 comments ↓ | 3 wiki edits: view article ↓)

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S. 1634 would implement further the Act approving the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America.

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Violeta

June 20, 2007, 2:47am (report abuse)

Although the CNMI government continues to deny that there are a lot labor violations and abuse against contract workers, I believe that bill S. 1634, when implemented will help minimize, if not totally eliminate, these abuses.

Albert

June 20, 2007, 3:55am (report abuse)

What i can say is cnmi government is very thick & narrow

rules inside of the cnmi. Government are freak, naived & doesn't have expereince in politics. They don't know how to protect the people in cnmi. Local people are so stupid. A lot of people here especially government employees are violating our dignity & rights. No ethics. Always grabing money from other people.Corrupts and always playing

people. F**k them. Especially fitial he always protecting willie tan & jerry tan. Jerry tan has lot of business here but monkey business he want to die the small businesses here to grab his intension to buy this island.CNMI is a selfish government. Pls. don't allow them to this against us. They are greedy in power.

Julieta

June 20, 2007, 2:40pm (report abuse)

I think this is the right time to pass the bill. I lived there for 14 years, let's face the fact that CNMI can't live without the aid from US government, not only that we have to think the future of our kids. I think this is the right time.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 20, 2007, 6:45pm (report abuse)

Great comments guys, and I mean that with very little sincerity. Albert, there's not much to comment on your opinions as it speaks loads as to what type of person you are. As for Violeta, thank you for mindlessly vomiting out more rhetoric and propaganda on this issue, because—you see—that's exactly what the people of the CNMI need to make changes within our community: more mindless and idiotic comments recycled over and over. The CNMI has made a great deal of change to labor practices in the last decade. It might not be enough, (and I feel we have a long ways to go) but at least those changes are being made. Can you say the same about the illegal sweat shops in New York city or Southern California? What have those states done in the last decade to improve the lives of those illegal immigrants in the U.S. that are trapped in the richest nation in the world? In the CNMI a non-resident worker wants to go back home you are free to do so.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 20, 2007, 6:46pm (report abuse)

Workers come here legally and are protected by their legal status as non-resident workers, which is a million times better than arriving to the shores of the U.S. mainland by 40 foot containers and being forced to work in U.S. sweat shops that everyone knows exists but no one does anything about. Telling someone to fix their backyard while your backyard looks like crap is one of those hypocritical prerogatives given to members of the U.S. Congress. The Speaker of the House can hire and therefore endorse illegal immigrants, but has no problem criticizing and classifying the people of the CNMI as criminals.

The problem with this bill is that it is bill for retribution. While U.S. Congress remains impotent unable to fix the concerns over millions of ILLEGAL immigrants in the U.S., they are more than happy to use a heavy handed approach on a group of islands thousands of miles away from their home constituency.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 20, 2007, 6:48pm (report abuse)

I am not saying that there shouldn't be changes made to the CNMI, but it should be done with great concern and caution, with great cooperation. It is easy for Congress to impose things onto the CNMI as they do not live here (and, 90% have never been here), but the people who consider this place their home and plan to live here the rest of their lives have some legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, people like you, Violeta, mindless minions who jump on the bandwagon of a cause fueled by rhetoric and catch-phrases are given a greater voice than people who have substantive issues.

As for Julieta, 14 years in the CNMI might give credence to your opinion to people who are clueless of the CNMI, but to people like me who are still here, dedicated to our homes, you are really just someone who came, didn't like it here, and moved away. You sit on your high horse and talk of change and improvement...to a place where you have no vested interest? Give me a break.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 20, 2007, 6:49pm (report abuse)

By the way, there thousands of small farming communities in rural America that depend on the Federal government to subsidize their crops. Singling out the CNMI as a place that can't live without federal aid is asinine. As for doing it for the future of our kids, well that strange; that is exactly the reason people like me are working to negotiate the right changes to our islands.

You are all entitled to your opinions, and I am entitled to my opinions; that's the beauty of living in America. You are my fellow Americans and together we make this country great. But, my gripe about this bill is that it gives no voice to the people who actually live here; and that my fellow Americans is TRULY UN-AMERICAN. This bill is railroaded through U.S. Congress as if democracy itself will collapse without its passage.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 20, 2007, 6:50pm (report abuse)

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee wants to entertain comments on the bill next week and I can't get a copy of the bill through the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS because it hasn't been submitted to the GPO. This is exactly the type of Congressional trickery that people living in the CNMI have to deal with. Where is our opportunity to have a say?

"Taga's way"

June 20, 2007, 10:00pm (report abuse)

We need people like you James especially for our Commonwealth ,who stands up for what he believe is right. Regardless of what had transpired in the CNMI (i.e, abuses,labor violations, criminal activities as if it would not happen in other places)individuals like albert & julieta thinks that the people of the CNMI in general are to be blame for their sufferings. This bill (like you James; I can't get a copy of this bill although, I read that Sen. Frica Pangelinan has a copy and its available )is not so intrusive as we thought it will be, of course that's only my opinion.

"Taga's way"

June 20, 2007, 10:02pm (report abuse)

Federalization of Immigration in the CNMI might be inevitable, but if you look into it's context from the media releases it does not really change much of anything, think of it as an upgrade of your PC, that would enable the Federal govt. to sort out the undesirables. This bill whose main supporters are the non-residents, will give them a status of "non-immigrant", non-immigrant?

"Taga's way"

June 20, 2007, 10:04pm (report abuse)

Federalization of Immigration in the CNMI might be inevitable, but if you look into it's context from the media releases it does not really change much of anything, think of it as an upgrade of your PC, that would enable the Federal govt. to sort out the undesirables. This bill whose main supporters are the non-residents, will give them a status of "non-immigrant", non-immigrant?

"Taga's way"

June 20, 2007, 10:05pm (report abuse)

How could they in their status participate in local politics as feared by some residents, if they are not immigrants, Their third generation kin might have a say in generall politics in the CNMI if they stay here for a long period of time, but not this non-immigrants. No , not yet.

"Taga's way"

June 20, 2007, 10:10pm (report abuse)

How could they in their status as "non-immigrant" participate in local politics as feared by some residents, if they are not immigrants, and are unlikely to be eligible to vote. Their third generation kin might have a say in generall politics in the CNMI if they stay here for a long period of time, but not this non-immigrants. No , not yet.

Ramon

June 20, 2007, 10:38pm (report abuse)

James, do you have any idea why the US congress wants to implement this bill to the CNMI. I bet you do? if the CNMI is in the huge mess right now whom do you think did it or the responsible persons is it the contract workers? let me ask you this question. why you don't like or hate this bill?

JORAB

June 20, 2007, 11:40pm (report abuse)

I THINK I WOULD BE BETTER FOR CNMI TO BE FEDERALIZED BECAUSE OF THE ONGOING ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS AS WELL AS THE CLOSING OF THE GARMENT INDUSTRY, FEDERAL GOVERMENT SHOULD HELP CNMI BY MEANS OF FEDERAL GRANT AND ALSO HELP THE LONG TIME STAYING ALIEN WORKERS, THEY DESERVE TO BE GIVEN A REWARD EVEN THOUGH IT IS JUST A NON IMMIGRANT IT WOULD BE MUCH BETTER CONSIDER THAT THEY ARE ENTITTLED TO WORK IN THE MAINLAD, I THINK THEY'LL TAKE IT.THEY DESERVE IT, ANYWAYS.

weng

June 21, 2007, 12:00am (report abuse)

Obviously, local people are not in favor of this bill, you know why? they are afraid of losing everything to the non-resident worker once they have their own status, they are afraid that this long time non-resident worker will have a change to improve their lives by working in the US mainland, they are afraid that for sure only few of this non resident worker will stay here, what the heck of staying here if you can go to the mainland. Don't worry Mr. James i know for sure that this non-resident workers if given a status has no intention staying here for the rest of their lives, you can have your island. it's must be better for you to just take care of your bettle nut tree.

rich

June 21, 2007, 1:21am (report abuse)

i was born and raised in saipan and still live here. i'm not too sure how i feel about this bill. except for granting >5 years non-residents fas-like status allowing them to travel anywhere in the us to work and/or study, it doesn't seem to have other significant changes. one good thing about it is that it provides some stability. we would no longer have to be concerned about whether or not the immigration status would change next year, 5 years, or tomorrow.

rich

June 21, 2007, 1:22am (report abuse)

even if this bill fails to pass, homeland security issues could compel the president to sign an executive order federalizing immigration in the cnmi, changing everything instantly. at least this way, some planning could be made. the one thing that stinks about this bill is how it is being forced down our throats without no or very little input from the ones it would affect the most - the locals. does anyone really believe that any of the senators or their staff, especially al stayman, give a damn about people living in tiny islands 7,000 miles away from dc?

michelle

June 21, 2007, 1:36am (report abuse)

In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 2006, OIA Deputy Assistant Secretary David B. Cohen stated "With virtually no military installations and very limited military spending, the CNMI’s ability to import labor and set its own minimum wage has been essential to its economic survival." Now exactly what has happened in less than a year to totally change Cohen's mind? Will S. 1634 lead the CNMI to economic recovery? ridiculous

talap-talap

June 21, 2007, 4:49am (report abuse)

Based from my experience, this bill should be implemented as soon as possible for the ff. reasons:

1) As an alien worker, you must always say "yes" to your employer or else you lose your job. It doesn't matter if you're wrong or right. You can never argue or complain.

2) How can you invest or do business in CNMI if the Dept. of Labor will be the one to choose your worker or employees once you announce the job vacancy ads.

These are only few instances where the freedom to talk or choose of these alien workers and businesses were handicapped.

Francisco villamin jr.

June 21, 2007, 11:10pm (report abuse)

the sooner the better to impliment the bill to federalize CNMI. i have a question what will happen to communist country like chinese workers are they qualified if the bill be implimented?

i do believe that U.S. GOVERNMENT is equal to all the nations ever since. they will do whatever the right thing to do for the benefit of the human being.

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND CNMI.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 24, 2007, 7:13pm (report abuse)

Wow, a firestorm of comments, I love this kind of discussion. But, why don't we move to the www.thecnmi.com forum so that we don't have to keep each post under 1,000 characters. I, for one, am too long-winded to keep my comments this short. I insist that everyone here who wants to discuss and debate an issue come on over...for everything begins with exchange and dialog. I realize that some of you are obviously still under the impression that we are all barefoot, uneducated, savages and I would love to engage in open debate with all that doubt the intelligence of a Chamorro person.

To Taga's Way. Thanks, the CNMI needs all of it's people to step up, and I know you are one of those already stepping up. I think back to the words of John Adams, when he said “People and nations are forged under the fires of adversity.” Well, we have adversity and it is time for people to be tempered and forged.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 24, 2007, 7:36pm (report abuse)

To Ramon, I've been reading the draft proposal submitted to the House Standing Committee. I know why I don't like the bill, and there is simply too much to discuss here. Come on over to ww.thecnmi.com and we will talk about it in detail. Or, if you live on Saipan, I'll take you out to coffee and we will talk about it. But, to answer your question, I think the mess in the CNMI is a problem created by many forces. Please don't over simplify everything by saying that the mess was completely created by the Chamorros and Carolinians. That is a bit insulting, and a bit naïve.

The system that was created is terrible. And, it will exact terrible consequences to the CNMI. It is my home. The consequences of the immigration bill will be here long after everyone who doesn't give a damn about the CNMI moves away, and that's why I want the immigration bill to reflect the opinions of the people who consider this their ONLY home...not Congressmen thousands of miles away.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 24, 2007, 7:49pm (report abuse)

Weng, thank you for your opinion. It proves exactly why people who don't intend to make the CNMI their home should not have a say in the immigration bill. I don't want my home to be a freeway rest area for people who are just looking to take advantage of the system. I know of friends that have family who are waiting over 10 years to come to the United States. They are good people. Do you honestly believe that you deserve to come before my friend's family because of an immigration loop-hole created by Congress? He is an engineer educated, hard-working, and law-abiding, are you any of these things? If you are, then get in line like everyone else.

As for my pugua tree, I don't like chewing so much, but I love to farm. I will take care of it. My people are the caretakers of this land you so profusely despise. We might not have done such a great job in recent years but we've been here for thousands of years, we will get over this hump.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 24, 2007, 8:13pm (report abuse)

There are so many comments on the rights and protection we should offer to non-resident workers. Talap-Talap and Jorab mentions that as a non-resident worker you cannot complain or argue, well last time I checked, I would probably lose my job if I argued and complained about everything, as well. Of course it is true that some jobs in the CNMI prove difficult, but it is not indentured servitude as some people say. To compare a legal labor system in which foreigners earn many times than a job in their home country, a system with more labor safe-guards than those offered to Mexican migrant workers, to slavery or indentured service is a just a tad bit appalling.

By the way, if you are wondering why there are protections in place to benefit local workers...well, there is that small fact that locals are American citizens. Is it your suggestion that the United States forgo protecting American citizens and their jobs in favor of protecting non-resident workers?

James Mendiola Jr.

June 24, 2007, 8:26pm (report abuse)

To Jorab, why do non-resident workers “deserve” so much? Do locals who are U.S. citizens deserve to lose jobs due to breakneck federal minimum wage increases? Do locals who are U.S. citizens deserve to find fewer and fewer jobs because foreigners compete openly for the same jobs?

Don't get me wrong. Non-residents have contributed to the growth of the CNMI economy. But, please don't make it sound as if you did the work for free or out of some act of altruism. You were paid. And, that is why 34,000 people remitted $112 Million last year to benefit families and friends back home. Is there something that you deserve more than a salary and legal working status?

Francisco Villamin Jr.

June 24, 2007, 9:20pm (report abuse)

Hello again to all, i just i want to remind everybody that we need to pray for our family the U.S. and CNMI Gov't. and let OUR GOD'S will be done. I speak more blessing, Long life and Good Health for Chamorro, Carolinian, Filipino,Bangladesh, Indian, Chinese, F.S.M. but make sure we do take care of our health. YES TO IMMIGRATION BILL TO FEDERALIZE CNMI, YOU KNOW WHY? See what happen to GUAM AND HAWAII. Mostly are Contract worker before but now all Permanent Residence or U.S. Citizen. there ECONOMY is really STRONG. if i'm a politician in SAIPAN i would rather introduce a bill that all contract worker who are qualified may start applying for the Green Card. why do have to wait U.S. Gov't to impliment it. ok anybody from the Congress or Senate to initiate that challenge? thank you GOD BE WITH US ALWAYS.

BY THE WAY NEED TO EXPEDITE THE FEDERALIZATION OF CNMI. SO THAT I CAN APPLY TO U.S.ARMY.or any Branch of Services.

mr. wong

June 24, 2007, 10:31pm (report abuse)

well, well, well, it seem's that mr. james is really up for debate, he sounds like a politician. I've been here in cnmi for almost 15 yrs. I came here to work and never think about of this federalization or non-resident will have a legal status, it's just a bonus. mr. james don't compare the cnmi garment workers for those in the mainland that's their choice, they went there as illegal workers, do you say that workers here in the garment industry are illegal?

As for the problem why some resident workers are losing their job to the non-resident, it's very simple, a have a lot of local friend i mean rich bussinessmen who prefer to hire non-resident worker simply because they are reliable, hard worker and they don't absent on their job after they got their paycheck, ask your fellow mr. james, why if they got they paycheck they forgot that they still have work to do rather than spending time in the beach and do barbeque.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 25, 2007, 2:08am (report abuse)

To Mr. Wong, thank you for the comments. In all reality, I would make an awful politician. Furthermore, I don't believe I had ever said that non-resident workers are illegal. Could you provide me with a citation of which part of my posts gave you that wrong impression?

As for your perspective on local employees, well, you see, Mr. Wrong, as long as businesses (your rich businessman included) in the CNMI are allowed to easily replace residents with cheap non-residents then there won't be any incentive in training residents. No incentive to work with locals to improve their skill set and instill pride in their jobs and ethics. And, are you trying to convince me that race and job performance are related? You aren't wearing a white hood and burning a cross on my lawn tonight, are you, Wong?

Phillip Long

June 25, 2007, 2:39am (report abuse)

If you read this bill more clearly, you will see that is nothing more than a way for the US Government to control our boarders. If non-resident workers in the CNMI thinks this helps them, you are wrong. It does not give you US Green Cards, you still can't own land and you can't even vote. The bill is just big brother trying to control the CNMI.

Phillip Long

June 25, 2007, 2:43am (report abuse)

I agree with James Mendiola Jr.'s comments, people are too eager to jump on a banwagon without knowing were that banwagon is going. This is clearly evident by the mindless postings from uneducated people who don't take the time to read the bill. "If" Non-resident workers are truly trying to mandate equal rights, then why is there no path to citizenship in the bill? Why are they not allowed to vote? Why can't they own land? Non-resident's who support this bill are nothing more than prostitutes trying to sell their dignity for a free entry to the US mainland and they are willing to "sell" their human rights to get it.

John

June 25, 2007, 4:07am (report abuse)

Think about this guys, the covenant of the US and the CNMI for the past 30 years did nothing for the CNMI to improve the social living, local government had been given the chance to govern their own, but what happend after 30 yrs.?Can you guy's give me an answer for this. and why you guy's are so afraid with this bill? like what mr. phillip long said, it's just like a big bro. trying to control the border of this island. So, what's wrong? Why you guy's don't try another menu? are you not tired of eating same food in your table? THINK ABOUT IT....

MR. LIBRA

June 25, 2007, 10:09am (report abuse)

To Mr. James Mendiola, you are talking as if you don't like being American Citizen..How you critizise an ordinary contract worker when you know that you cannot stand alone by yourself. Why don't you just drop your citizenship.. Run for Governor so you can make your own changes. All contract workers ordinary or professionals they are all part of the CNMI. Don't deprive their chance to improve their future.. When they sign the covenant, do you think native Americans will think the same way as you do right now? I don't think so... You are only adopted children of America... "SELFISHNESS" is the right word.

Taga's way

June 25, 2007, 6:32pm (report abuse)

Actually , Mr. Libra most if not all Native Americans would just let no-one come into their dominion. One more thing "the covenant" is one document first of its kind, don't underestimate it.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 25, 2007, 6:36pm (report abuse)

Mr. Libra, I am going to refrain from being too harsh, as I know that you are trying your best to express your point only to be impeded by your own abilities. To be an adopted child of America is—if that is who we are—a grand gift. One that I appreciate, and cherish. I am sorry that you have falsely gleaned from my comments the idea that I resent being American. To the contrary, I feel blessed to be an American I am merely doing what all Americans have the right to do, to criticize a government and the policies it has chosen to put into place.

To tell an American to renounce their citizenship simply because you do not agree with their opinions is reflective of your misunderstanding of the liberties given to all Americans. Just as every person on this forum has the right to belittle and criticize the CNMI, I have the right to express my concerns over the immigration bill.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 25, 2007, 6:38pm (report abuse)

I ask you Mr. Libra, are non-resident contract workers beyond criticism?

I fear that you are starting to believe the sensationalism in the media, that has gone out of its way to convince every single contract worker in the CNMI that they are victims of a system of immigration akin to indentured servitude.

Sadly, you have forgotten that the CNMI has given tremendous opportunity to workers. When every other U.S. border had closed their borders to Filipinos and Chinese who did not meet the H-1 criteria to work in the U.S., it was the CNMI who gave the opportunity for non-resident workers to earn a living far greater than what they would find in their homeland. We didn't do it for humanitarian reasons, it was simple economics. We paid non-resident workers and non-resident workers made a tremendous contribution to our growth. There was never a promise for non-resident workers to be given residency, and this is clear with renewal of yearly contracts.

Taga's way

June 25, 2007, 6:43pm (report abuse)

Mr. Libra, As for the non-resident workers who aspire for better immigration status, why can't they apply like everyone else.

USCIS homepage is on the internet.

Did you think that in establishing the Commonwealth the people of the NMI at that time have it easy, they were at it for more than a decade.

Phillip Long

June 25, 2007, 10:59pm (report abuse)

To John, people should be afraid of this bill because it accomplishes nothing and threatens the economic growth of the CNMI by unilaterally controlling "our" access to the Chinese and Russian investor and tourist markets.

Thats all it does. Nothing more.

Non-residents workers need to understand this. READ CLEARLY.

THIS BILL DOES NOT GIVE YOU U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND DOES NOT ALLOW YOU TO VOTE.

The only change... a Non-resident now is able to travel freely to the US Mainland?

Are you willing to sell out your rights to vote and rights to citizenship for a ticket to the mainland?

Don't be a prostitute.

Phillip Long

June 25, 2007, 11:04pm (report abuse)

I challenge any poster to offer me any reason(s) why this bill should be approved. I am stunned that over 80% of the people polled on this site support this bill.

I would like to know why there is so much support for an awful bill.

Bing

June 26, 2007, 7:49am (report abuse)

RIDE ON, I WANT UNCLE SAM TO PASS IT.

JOHN

June 26, 2007, 4:53pm (report abuse)

To Phillip, pls. bear in your mind that local residents are the one's afraid of this bill, I can trade my right to vote to travel and work in the mainland rather than voting to those politician who did nothing to improve the lives here esp. of the local people, CAN YOU PUT IN YOUR TABLE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE when your family is hungry? huh, MR. PHILLIP LONG

JOHN

June 26, 2007, 4:54pm (report abuse)

Phillip, you don't know what's the reason why there is an overwhelming support of this bill? the answer is right there in your nose. first, economy is going down and there's no way you can recover from it, secondly, once federal gov. takes over, more federal grants will pour in, and lastly,Phillip and James, after 10 yrs. you'll be on your own, no more non-resident worker here, you will have a lot of job for the local people because there's no more competition, why is it you guy's don't like this bill.

Daniel

June 26, 2007, 8:05pm (report abuse)

You are right Mr. John. We gave them so much time. Those people who cannot accept reality are those people who always thinking about themselves. Mr. Long will you give half of your resources to the needy. I don't think so. It is easy for you to say maybe because you have so many things in life that others don't have. Lucky you. Please think give them a chance. They cannot vote but they can live.

Benru

June 27, 2007, 12:46am (report abuse)

Don't worry you guys who are against this bill. The governor is doing all means to block this bill if he can re schedule the hearing he can probably kill it right?

talap-talap

June 27, 2007, 12:58am (report abuse)

Why do I say alien workers cannot complain to their employers? As an alien worker, you cannot work without any work permit. It is very costly to lose your job. You have to look for another employer and undergo a lot of work permit processing procedures and pay fees. Unlike resident workers, they can complain anytime without the fear of losing their job because they can apply anywhere at anytime without the hassles of work permit processing. So it's really true that all alien workers here have a right to express their feelings but aren't you scared to do so?

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 5:55pm (report abuse)

To John, me thinks you must be some Congressional expert on grants and federal aide since you are so confident that “more federal grants will pour in” when federalization of immigration occurs. I'm sorry, did I miss a provision in the bill that would usher in a new era of federal outlays to the CNMI? You are worse than the politicians that you criticize...you do realize that don't you? We call people like you hypocrites around here, and come to think of it, that's what you are called in most English speaking nations, as well.

James M. Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 6:30pm (report abuse)

It's hard to explain to people like John, why people like me don't support the bill. I will try to keep it simple to put it “right there IN your nose”. We have given thousands of foreigners opportunities to come work and tto help build the CNMI economy. They were paid for their hard labor and they in turn sent millions of U.S. dollars to their home countries to feed their family and pay for their children's tuition. That's a noble thing, I will not argue with your sacrifice and work ethic.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 6:48pm (report abuse)

Now, we signed up for this system because it gave the CNMI an intermediary solution to labor while our youth go out and get an education to pave the road towards self-support. The current system is an abomination of the good intentions our former leaders had. Today, an educated islander cannot come to the CNMI as an accountant or an engineer because of the system. U.S. citizens who were educated at a cost of $15 to $60,000 can't compete with Filipinos who get their education for less than 20% of that.

If there is one among you who support the bill that can convince me that this bill is good for the people of the CNMI who are American citizens and worthy of the protection of the Federal government, then speak up now. Don't tell me that you “deserve” residency because you have worked here for 5 years. I might accept that argument if you worked here for 5 years for free. Show me how people like John leaving the CNMI in 10 years helps the CNMI. You can't, can you?

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 6:49pm (report abuse)

The biggest argument these days for Federal Immigration revisions in the mainland is to give legal status to millions of immigrants who contribute to the U.S. economy. I hear a lot of politicians side step the issue and say, “the immigrants do the jobs that we don't want to do”. In other words, they stroke away the fears that American's have of immigrants by saying “your job as a manager is safe Mr. Smith because they only pick avocados,” Do you think politicians have any ground to stand on if illegal aliens could arrive on the border speaking English and looking for engineering and management jobs? I would wager all the money in my savings that there would have very little support for an immigration bill that gives away high level American jobs to foreigners.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 6:56pm (report abuse)

In the CNMI we have an interesting system. Since our immigration and labor system was designed as a temporary solution, we let in every category of laborer. Our greed left the minimum wage abominably low, and suppressed the ability of the market to find a “market price”. Now, that our own youth have returned educated and experienced, we find ourselves addicted to low wages unwilling to offer jobs to Mr. Taisacan the engineer because Mr. Vallo the filipino engineer is willing to work for 6.00 an hour.

Everyone agrees that the economy is on the verge of collapse. People falsely believe that the new minimum wage will give them the standard of living that they deserve, but it is a false belief because increasing costs of doing business (labor) will guarantee the loss of jobs. In an economy where jobs will start dwindling, we are now proposing to allow temporary workers to become residents and openly compete for jobs against American citizens? Where is the logic in that?

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 7:15pm (report abuse)

What these grandstanding politicians in Washington who have positioned themselves as the savior of the enslaved masses in Saipan, are doing the exact thing they cannot do in the mainland. They are throwing aside concerns of CNMI American citizens worried about their children's opportunities in the future for a few points and a reputation as an emancipator. If anyone here "deserves" anything, it is the American citizen who "deserves" to be protected from job loss, and loss of cultural identity.

I want an overhaul of the CNMI immigration system. One that reflects the concerns of the people who will live here until the island sinks into the ocean, not the people who will flee. One that doesn't increase competition when there are concerns for job losses. One that guarantees the ability of an American citizen to find a job in their own country before we give jobs away to non-citizens.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 7:37pm (report abuse)

I know, the next group of comments will be another launch against ignorant, racist locals; what non-residents deserve; and how good this bill will be for the CNMI. Then, I will post something else to seduce another round of comments...which with all probability will lead to more and more name calling and insinuation of general immoral behavior.

I see that we are not getting anywhere. The people of the CNMI have genuine concerns over the bill. No amount of posting “non-resident deserving” or rhetoric on human rights abuse will change that. The non-resident workers, among them people that I call friends, want to find opportunity and stability. Since, those are the exact same things I want for my children—should I ever have any, then I feel that there is ground to build something for both parties. How do we protect the future of CNMI locals and give a future to people who now consider the CNMI their homes and want to be a part of the island of Chamorros and Carolinians?

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 7:57pm (report abuse)

All we need to understand the explosive nature of anything immigration is to look at the comments on S. 1348. Comments from all sides talking about race, economy, education, and national security. Reading some of the comments makes me want to understand my own fears and concerns, and try to infuse a little empathy in my thoughts. Trying to feel compassion for the the millions who come to America looking for an opportunity for happiness and the American dream.

If I have offended anyone here, then I sincerely apologize. I am not a hate-monger (at least not on Thursdays). I don't hate non-resident workers, and I understand the contributions you have made. I am proud to have welcomed former guest workers as familia (we share that word don't we). There has to be a solution. Daniel, John, Talap-talap, is there a solution that will recognize the concerns of locals and non-residents? Let's start a dialog. I mean it.

talap-talap

June 27, 2007, 8:58pm (report abuse)

More and more rules and regulations make things more complicated and hard to understand.

Let us just remind everybody, alien, locals, and all lawmakers that before we do any actions now in the future not to forget this simple & golden rule: DON'T DO TO OTHERS ANYTHING THAT YOU DON'T WANT THEM TO DO TO YOU. Just follow this. It will really works.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 27, 2007, 10:58pm (report abuse)

A fine rule, Talap-Talap. The ethic of reciprocity is certainly a wonderful philosophy. Theology has a great place in society, but it's a difficult leap as an all encompassing rule for government. Regulations and rules may make things hard to understand, but that is the reality in which we live.

I don't know about you, but I cannot imagine capitalism ever functioning with the ethics of reciprocity. I can't imagine immigration and homeland security ever functioning with that rule, either. As a nation our objective in national security is a little less Kumbaya and holding hands.

John

June 28, 2007, 4:12am (report abuse)

James, you're such a good debater, you talk to much, one thing i know that talk to much are those politician during campaign period, just to get the votes of their constituents but afterwards they just sit on their rocking chair the whole day. and if i am a hypocrites, you are selfish, you think only about yourself. You know james, on the other hand it will be good for the people of the cnmi, imagine this, in ten years after the transition period you have a lot of job available for the local people, there will be no more millions of dollar to be sent home by the non-resident worker, econy here will be at it's best again just like the early 90's. and by the way, the millions of dollar that they sent home are the fruit of their hard labor as what you've said, it's their own money you can't dictate them what to do or where to spend their money. Anyways, don't take my comment seriously, we live in a democratic country we are all have the rights to express ourselves.

James Mendiola Jr.

June 28, 2007, 11:03pm (report abuse)

You have forced me to admit it. Oh, the shame! I am indeed a long-winded know-it-all (who really doesn't know much), who has too much time on his hands. As for labeling you a hypocrite, I'm sorry, but, John, I wasn't the one that promised that federal aide would pour into the CNMI because of the immigration bill. You are free to criticize a politician for pandering to get people's votes, but be ready to be labeled a hypocrite if you make promises or claims that you have no ways of keeping, as well.

Selfish? John, I need you to actually read and not skim over the things that I wrote because your accusations are bit unfounded.

Phillip Long

June 29, 2007, 1:35am (report abuse)

To John. I don't understand how this immigration bill is going to feed your "hungry family" and "put food on the table".

I am sorry, I missed that section in the bill.

If you think by moving to the US you will be able to "put food on the table", then why don't you move there now?

The US already allows alien workers to enter the US under the H2 visa.

Phillip Long

June 29, 2007, 1:39am (report abuse)

John, I am begining to think it is you who are selfish. (as you accused James of being)

I think all you want is a fast trip to the US and you don't give a damn what is going to happen to the CNMI or your fellow filipinos on island.

Wake up. Don't sell yourself short.

Demand your right to an avenue of US citizenship, this bill does not do that.

As it is now, you would be in the US with no right to vote and no rights to public benefits.

You would be a 2nd class citizen. Is this what you want?

Phillip Long

June 29, 2007, 1:51am (report abuse)

From the posts I have been reading regarding "why" people want this immigration bill, I can see where there is confusion.

Most of the obvious non-resident alien workers who are posting on this site don't care about society or their human rights. All they care about is how to "sell out" those rights to get a free plane ticket to the US Mainland. (read posts above...not my opinion..this is what people actually say)

If the only reason why this bill is good is because it allows non-resident workers to move to the US Mainland, then something is fundementally flawed with our democracy when the voice of a non-citizen can change the future path of a soverign country.

What people on this post are saying is that it is not national security, it is not human rights.

It is a plan ticket.

Sad...truly sad.

Phillip Long

June 29, 2007, 2:16am (report abuse)

After thinking about this some more and re-reading the posts, the intention of the bill's supporters is to convince everyone this bill is good because it benefits them economically. As some posters put it..they are willing to give up their rights to make a better living.

Selfish....? Indeed....

For those of you who just want an opportunity to move to the USA, why don't you avail yourselves of the existing immigration process that the USA offers.

If it is purely an economic and not human right or representation issue, then why are you here? Why not Saudi Arabia? Iran? Iraq? Hong Kong? I am sure you can make more money there.

John

June 29, 2007, 8:50am (report abuse)

Phillip, first of all don't label me as filipino for I am not, you and john are talking the same for you have a better living compare to those who realy on food stamp. tell me, what can you offer this people, considering the present status of the economy, where will this island go after all the garments company closes their business after the second increase of federal wages next year, tourism, i guess it won't be the same before, exodus of local families migrating to the mainland, because they know that their lives will not improve anymore with the present situation. look at guam, I know they struggle at first when they became one of the US state, how they doing now? Isn't it much much better than their neighbor.

Phillip, can I ask you something? Why are You so insecure if this non-resident decided to move to mainland?

James Mendiola Jr.

June 29, 2007, 9:08pm (report abuse)

John, I think you were really thinking of me when you said, “you and John”. As for the food stamp comment...I would like to make this perfectly clear: my mother, sisters, and I needed nutritional assistance when we lived in Oregon. I had to wear Salvation Army clothes, and suffered through countless humiliating comparisons with wealthier students. So, for you to sit in front of your computer and think that you have any grounds to criticize me that I have been somehow untouched by poverty or the challenges of life is repugnant. Your arrogance is amazing. Your ignorance is unparalleled.

By the way, have you been to Guam? It's not all roses in Guam, either. Guam doles out $53,000,000 in food stamps every year. Is this the economic paradise you are talking about. Admit it, you have no clue as to what you are talking about. You are making statements based on conjecture and little empirical evidence.

JOHN

June 29, 2007, 10:12pm (report abuse)

James, first of all i never criticized you, it is you. look at the post in the beginning, isn't it that you're the one who criticize julieta, albert and violeta. I never said that guam is like a paradise, i said that they're much better in saipan. As for you're humiliating experience in oregon, it is all up to you why you never take action.

THIS IS ALL I CAN SAY, I'M IN FAVOR OF THIS BILL. THATS IT, NO MORE NO LESS, LET US JUST RESPECT OUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

Phillip Long

June 30, 2007, 9:37pm (report abuse)

John..(are there two of you posting?) One in uppercaps and one in lower caps...I am confused who I am talking to.

So, for the "john" who referred to Guam as a state of the USA, this is exactly why people who have not read or researched the bill should not try to comment or enter into a debate about it.

GUAM is NOT a state.

I encourage you to do a little research before you jump onto the "support" banwagon for this ugly and meaningless bill.

There are bigger things at stake wrapped up in the layers of supposed "protection of the alien-workers" purpose.

I have been trying to educate the non-resident workers that YOU DESERVE MORE.

Why are you settling for this piece of crap legislation?

As I said time and time again.

NO CITIZENSHIP

NO RIGHT TO VOTE

NO OWNERSHIP OF LAND IN THE CNMI

How are you not being treated as 2nd class? You deserve more. All I am asking is for someone to stand up and fight for it.

Phillip Long

June 30, 2007, 9:47pm (report abuse)

It really saddens me when a productive part of our island society (the non-resident worker) is willing to sell their basic human rights for such a senseless bill.

Most of the posts that I have read on this seem to be more interested in having a Visa that will get them into the US Mainland.

Is this all you want? After 30 years of helping us locals create a productive society for all of us to live in, you now just want a way to leave?

What does this bill get you other than a simple way to move to California or any other state?

What about your right to vote in a society that you choose and are accepted to live in?

What about access to citizenship or a way to announce to the rest of the world that you are a part of that society that they accepted you into?

What about your right to build on and buy land for your future generations in a soceity that they accepted you into?

Phillip Long

June 30, 2007, 9:50pm (report abuse)

Classified as a "non-immigrant"..is this what you want?

Sounds like to me that the USA just wants your ability to work, but they don't want you a part of their society.

Is that someplace you want to live?

This bill sucks...you deserve more.

Phillip Long

June 30, 2007, 9:56pm (report abuse)

Lastly, I am still waiting on someone to meet my challenge.

What, other than an ability to travel to the US, does this bill accomplish for the benefit of the CNMI and non-resident workers?

Mind you, those non-residents who say that travel to the US is "new" it is not. Every single non-resident worker in Saipan, Tinian and Rota currently, via EXISTING Federal Law, has the opportunity to apply for and immigrate to a US Mainland Job. There are many classes of visas available, you just need to find the job first.

So what really does this bill accomplish?

Melissa

July 1, 2007, 2:33am (report abuse)

This is the right time for CNMI to move on, the island has no any alternative to combat the economy slump we're having. Guy's, what can we offer the people here right now? This is what we need. There's no harm in trying.

Phillip Long

July 1, 2007, 6:38am (report abuse)

Melissa, have you read the bill?

Please point out to me the section where Senate Bill 1634 "combats the economy slump" of the CNMI?

In fact, if this bill is passed it would do more harm to the CNMI's economy as we would not be allowed to continue accepting Russian and Chinese tourists. (two of the fasted growing tourist markets in Asia)

I am at a complete loss as to how this bill allows the CNMI to "move on" (from what?!) and is the savior to our economic slump.

Please explain.

Alfredo

July 1, 2007, 5:36pm (report abuse)

It's seems that mr. Long know's the S1634 very well. Okey, give us alternative or any hope without this bill. Are the people here will survive esp. with the impending min. wage hike? As john said, what the heck with the right to vote when you're people are suffering. Did the people that you vote Phillip did something to improved the lives here?

Taga's way

July 1, 2007, 7:43pm (report abuse)

I'm not an expert "James and Philip", I think the bill has provisions regarding visitor entry into the CNMI from Russia and China. And from the traditional areas such as Japan , Korea and from regular visitors from other areas visa waiver much like those of Guam. Most of the bills implication and inferences are still undecipherable to me.

Taga's way

July 1, 2007, 8:07pm (report abuse)

One thing, why is it that most writers are writing in an angry tone; Is it just me?

Does this bill really imply total annihilation of civilized CNMI?

Is it the end of the world as we know it?

For the Non-resident, you are allowed to apply for immigration change of status from the day you landed in the CNMI. With or without this bill.

For my local compatriots, You are more needed in a more constructive endeavors. You're talent and skills should be directed to ensuring that our local identity would be protected from the onslaught of uncertainties that abound, in humble respect.

Juan

July 1, 2007, 11:39pm (report abuse)

S. 1634 rocks! I can finally visit Disneyland when this bill is approved!

Jose Dimaguiba

July 2, 2007, 12:31am (report abuse)

Mr. Mendiola, Sir,

You have my respect. I am sure that majority of local people agrees with you.

I have one question to ask, can you imagine yourself as a foreign worker in the CNMI for more than 5 years,

and tell me your input about this bill?

Phillip Long

July 2, 2007, 6:31am (report abuse)

To Taga's Way, yes you are correct there are provisions that vaguely address our current access to the China and Russian markets.

However....and this is a BIG HOWEVER, the bill does not name these countries directly, leaving smart politico's to sumize that there is no sincere interest in protecting those valuable markets for the CNMI. It is just lip service...lip service that should be described as BS.

Phillip Long

July 2, 2007, 6:48am (report abuse)

Taga's Way, take a look at page 20 line 20 of the bill and you will notice that only countries that have been entering into the CNMI for the last 5 years will be considered to continue entry into the CNMI.

This 5 year requiement kills the China and Russia market as I believe the CNMI has only been issuing Visas for the last 4 years.

China was just approved in December 2004.

Now tell me that DOI and Congress doesn't know that fact....

They are intentionally killing our two biggest markets.

Why...because they think they can ram it down our throats under the guise that they are protecting the non-resident workers.

What a load of crap.

If the US was sincere, they would have granted the non-residents full US Citizenship.

After all, if most are leaving with a non-immigrant visa, why would they stay in the CNMI if they had US Passports?

Phillip Long

July 2, 2007, 6:55am (report abuse)

To Mr. Dimaguiba, I can't imagine being a non-resident worker in the CNMI for more than 5 years because I couldn't imaging living in a society without being a "real part" of it.

My personality would lead me to fight for more rights if I were in your predicament.

This bill gets you nothing but a plane ticket to the US in exchange for you being treated as a 2nd class citizen. No access to pubic social services, no access to voting, no protection as a US citizen (you can still be deported).

It give you nothing, zip, nada.

My debate on this forum is to demand more for the non-resident and more for the CNMI residents.

This is the least that the United States of America can do for us.

Right now we are given as much attention to effort on this bill as anyone would give a two week old newspaper on a coffee table.

Nestor

July 2, 2007, 8:30am (report abuse)

It seems that James Mendiola jr. and Phillip Long is same person that really want to discourage us. Nevermind the right to vote, who cares to be a second class citizen. What about you sir's, you are American Citizen, You carry blue passport, do you have the right to vote for the president of america? Does your voices being heard in US congress? If i will be given a chance to work in the mainland offcourse, I'll work hard to earn as much as I can so that before my 5 yrs. expires, I can go back to my country just sitting down and reaping the fruit of my hard labor, no need to work just to survive for oneday. That's all iI can say folks. Let's just wait and see what will happen.

James Mendiola Jr.

July 2, 2007, 6:26pm (report abuse)

Why, yes, Nestor Phillip Long and I are indeed the same person! Your powers of deduction and perception are dumbfounding, and I tremble in the presence of your superior intellect!

Wait...no..no..I'm not married. And, I don't reside in Tinian at this time. On second thought, Nestor, I'm starting to lean the other way...Phillip and I aren't the same person after all. Now, Taga's Way and I are the same person...no...no..that's not right either. What's your point again?

By the way, discourage you? Do you need a tissue, and a moment? Do you need a shoulder to lean on? I mean, since Ms. Magazine, the liberal media, 34,000 non-residents, a Democratic Congress, and Department of the Interior are the only friends you have, yes, I can see how my opinions and thoughts are a threat to you.

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