Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 28-Day 1 of U.S. Immigration

It's almost the end of the day. I've been out and about--to the post office, the store, Garapan, now Java Joe's.

Nothing seems any different.

The world did not end with the federalization of the CNMI's immigration. The world did not magically improve either.

We'll have to wait and see how things develop over the next few years. This will be a slow process.

33 comments:

Dad of Joy's 2 Nephews said...

Angelo V. posed a dichotomy, with the community in one of two camps -- “end of an abusive system” or “federalizer imperialism.”

He overlooks the middle ground. The CNMI guest worker program built this Commonwealth. It enabled us to become far more prosperous than our former TTPI compatriots in Palau, the FSM, and the RMI. It enriched us culturally, just like being capital of the TTPI did. And it provided untold opportunity to tens of thousands of guest workers.

Regardless of federalization, many of these workers will be eligible for green cards when their oldest child turns 21.

The end of the CNMI guest worker program ushers in an economic decline that will last at least 2-3 years.

But most sadly, it marks the successful cover-up of three decades of lax federal enforcement of applicable federal law that now can be conveniently blamed on that former guest worker system.

We will all need to stand together in solidarity and with faith in one another and God during the upcoming economically challenging few years.

The biggest defect in Pub. L. 110-229 was the utter failure of Congress to do any sort of economic analysis before it was passed. At this point, it doesn't help to say, “I told you so.”

Saipan Writer said...

Hi Greg.

I agree with your first three paragraphs.

But this part is pure crock of b.s.
[quote]"The end of the CNMI guest worker program ushers in an economic decline that will last at least 2-3 years."[/quote]

The economic decline was ushered in years and years ago; probably about the time the money launderers pulled out a lot of their cash. The Asian economic crisis continued to lap our shores. The garment factories closed. More than 10,000 contract workers left during the last year of CNMI control of immigration.


And I also disagree with the general view of this statement:
[quote]"But most sadly, it marks the successful cover-up of three decades of lax federal enforcement of applicable federal law that now can be conveniently blamed on that former guest worker system."[/quote]

I believe that BOTH the CNMI and the U.S. have some responsibility for the serious problems we had here, including some very bad human trafficking which has continued up until today; some serious worker abuse; and worst-a two tiered labor system that always relegated foreign contract workers to low wages and low status and no political voice.

The U.S. did occasionally enforce its laws, as in the $9 million victory against Tan Holdings. The CNMI rarely did as well. Although the local Courts did try, with some decisions protecting rights, the administrations (and I include nearly all of them), had little incentive to do anything other than try to preserve the southern "plantation" mentality upon which our "economic success" was built.

I don't think it's bad at all to have an end to CNMI-controlled labor. I realize that some contract workers have benefited from it, and I'm glad for them. But that benefit comes because U.S. immigration law allows their U.S. citizen children to petition for them when the children turn 21.

It's a U.S. immigration benefit--not a CNMI immigration benefit that they will truly enjoy.

The Saipan Blogger said...

They will benefit under the "new" system even more. Now they will have a much easier time becoming US citizens themselves.

Kind of ironic that people who only received their US citizenship in 1986 would so vehemently deny the same to others.

I Hope Joy's Nephews Have Good Teachers at School said...

Dad of Joy's 2 Nephews,

You stated that "The end of the CNMI guest worker program ushers in an economic decline that will last at least 2-3 years.". Is this supposed to be a terrible effect? It sound bad but look again at what you have stated. To put it another way you think that the CNMI will be pulling out of economic decline in a matter of a couple years. WOW! That is great news.

Unless you don't live here or follow our CNMI economic trends, let me bring you up to speed. The CNMI has been in economic decline for over a decade. Thats right. Even with control of immigration and unlimited access to guest workers, our economy has been declining.

I am glad that you agree that Federalization will create the long lasting turn around in just 2 - 3 years. I have always believed this. I think It will be a steady increase from day one but you could be more accurate. It will take a while for the Feds to straighten all the mess out. I mean look at today paper. AG and DoL fighting over something they can no longer control or enforce, immigration issues.


----------

You also mentioned how great the local system of immigration was on the CNMI and how prosperous it made us. You then said that the Feds were lax on federal laws and are now blaming the guest worker system. Did you forget the CNMI government and how lax (blind) we had been to violations of law and human rights? Do we get a pass? Can we just do as you said and pass the buck to the federal government? Last I remember they issued the largest labor violation fine in the history of the world years ago against a Garment mogul named Tan who was operating in the CNMI. The fine was a direct enforcement of federal labor laws. What was the largest fine issued by the CNMI?

--------------

You say that no economic report was done prior to passing the Federalization of CNMI Immigration. We have tons of economic indicators and studies of the CNMI that were used by lawmakers in the federal government. The federalization of CNMI immigration did not happen overnight. The bills were drafted for decades. Studies were made, visits to our region, experts consulted, trends watched, reports garnered, local leaders consulted, and many other items that made the final passage of the bill one of the most scrutinized and lengthy processes any bill that focuses on the CNMI ever went through. Hell, our own Commonwealth status was entered into in a MUCH quicker fashion and with less negotiation.

Look at our own CNMI government. What studies or reports were made available before your Governor declared an emergency at CUC, CHC, Tinian, CPA, PSS, etc? What consultation was conducted and with whom? What reports were made since that time frame? Your governor stated openly that he declared those emergencies to bypass the legislature and their processes. To bypass our Representatives and Senators. Now he is crying because he wasn't consulted and reports and studies weren't done?!

He is such a moron. He filed the lawsuit against the Federal Government without public consent, consultation, reports, studies and with the outright and public refusal of the legislature (the body that represents the PEOPLE of the CNMI).

Take your "told you so" and shove it.

You are the reason the CNMI is in such a sorry state.

Anonymous said...

"Kind of ironic that people who only received their US citizenship in 1986 would so vehemently deny the same to others."

SPOT ON!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Saipan Writer said...

Anon 9:20 AM.

I deleted your post. You're free to repost you opinions, stated as opinions. When you state something as fact, though, it needs to be verifiable as true or it needs to be considered non-libelous.

I delete comments that contain unverified statements of fact that could be construed as libelous.

Opinionated Fellow said...

Oh! Was that Greg? Why did I even waste my breath or more precisely my finger muscles typing up the long drawn out response a few comments up.

In my humble opinion he has serious issues and appears very unstable. I have personally had long discussions with him and I have seen his rants throughout the internet blog world (Archair Lawyer, The Actor, Newswatcher, etc.). I have personally been in fear since he was moved down from the Acting AG to AG's Traffic Division in Susupe of him waking up one day and just snapping.

I'm not at all an expert and this is just my personal layman's recommendation but I do hope someone offers him some counseling.

I really believe that he is living in a world he created in his own mind. One in which he believes that he has lived in the CNMI for decades and is himself a native NMD and thus understands completely the sentiments of his native brothers and must fight the oppressive white man.

JMHO

Saipan Writer said...

Just a few comments for Opinionated Fellow. I disagree with your assessment of Greg.

While I disagree with many of Greg's opinions on political issues, I don't think that makes him crazy. I see him at work, as our offices are next door. Nothing suggests any mental breakdown. I rather believe he might be relieved to be out of the limelight and no longer Acting A.G. The suggestion that he might be dangerous makes me think you are the one who has some problem (paranoia?), because Greg is a guy who talks things out and is about the last person in the world I would ever fear of physical threats.

I'm also quite convinced that Greg knows well and fully appreciates his own ethnic heritage and is not the least confused about it.

I may wonder why Greg, who is intelligent and honest and hard-working and holds many of the core values that I do, comes to the conclusions he does. I've tried to figure that out in the past, without much luck. I've come to the conclusion that Greg is an unconventional thinker.

I value his opinions, even when I heartily disagree with them. They make for lively discussions and allow us to explore some of the thornier issues we face as a community.

Greg--I hope you will keep posting your opinions on this blog.

Opinionated Fellow--I hope you will keep posting your opinions on this blog, as in the lengthy response you gave, which made a lot of good points. The personal attack is less effective and can actually stifle public debate, being counter-productive.

jmho.

Saipan Writer said...

Now, back to the actual discussion...

part 1.
I want to comment a bit more on this part of Greg's opinion:

"The CNMI guest worker program built this Commonwealth. It enabled us to become far more prosperous than our former TTPI compatriots in Palau, the FSM, and the RMI. It enriched us culturally, just like being capital of the TTPI did. And it provided untold opportunity to tens of thousands of guest workers."

I am disturbed to see us sliding into a romanticized view of the CNMI immigration system. I noticed this from Zaldy a while ago, when he said we might look back on this as the "good old days."

The pyramids were built by slaves. They are gorgeous and have stood for millenium. They have informed us of an Ancient Civilization that was rich and vibrant and "advanced." That doesn't make the system that was used to build them "good."

The Great Wall of China was built by forced labor. It is an icon that is so magnificent it can be seen from outer space. It stands as a reminder of wars and a desire for protection. That doesn't make the system that was used to build it "good."

The U.S. South had an era of flowering of literature, architecture, and other arts, based on a rich agricultural life. It was fueled by slaves who worked on plantations. The chivalry and code of honor, the noble and beautiful homes and cities built during that period have provided a foundation for many future works of art and literature. None of the South's success when Cotton Was King make the system that supported it "good."

Our CNMI immigration and labor system did provide for economic growth here and many local people gained wealth and status from the flourishing of our economy. Some alien workers also got status of U.S. immediate relative or eventually citizenship. (I'm not sure this was "tens of thousands"--I don't have the numbers; it might have been, but it might have been fewer.) It was not "slavery" as in the examples I've given above.

None of that makes the system "good."

Saipan Writer said...

part 2.
It was a system that fostered and promoted some horrible human rights violations.

The CNMI immigration and labor system allowed human trafficking. Our office has helped more than 40 human trafficking victims in the past three years. Their stories were eerily similar to those I heard from the groups of "bar girls" I first met as clients when I came in 1984. The CNMI Immigration and Labor system knowingly allowed this victimization, under the job titles of "waitress" and "cultural dancer."

The CNMI Immigration and Labor system allowed for lots of worker abuse. Many (tens of thousands?) did not receive the full wages that they earned through their sweat and toil. The theft of their work is one of the biggest crimes of the system. At no time did the the CNMI ever enforce an effective system of "bonding" or other surety guarantees to provide for wages to be paid.

The CNMI Immigration and Labor system provided no protection for spouses. If they had good citizen spouses, an alien spouse might get a green card in the U.S. immigration system and then be on track for her own, independent permanent status. But at least hundreds, and maybe thousands, of spouses did not get green card status. Their U.S. citizen spouses kept them on the CNMI "immediate relative" system, and by requiring that they renew their permits every year, they exercised unbelievable control and power over their alien spouses. Many of these alien spouses were physically or mentally abused. I know of many cases where spouses, after many years, even decades, of loyalty, and for some after giving birth and raising children, were divorced and left with nothing but the threat of deportation. (Yes, those who gave birth may eventually get status through the U.S. system from their U.S. citizen children, but no thanks to the CNMI.)

Saipan Writer said...

part 3.
The CNMI Immigration and Labor system kept wages low and eradicated the bargaining position of employees in the CNMI, and made private sector work here unpalatable to many local people. Who could compete with the starving masses of Asia and their desperation for any job? Hundreds, thousands?, of locals have left their beloved islands to look for work in the mainland U.S. because they needed, wanted, and deserved real opportunities to work for adequate wages.

And the worst of the CNMI Immigration and Labor system, imho, is not just damage and harm to the alien workers, and to the local workers who were forced by these circumstances to leave, but to generations of ordinary people here. The two-tiered system that has been built in structurally to our laws (and touted by Jacinta Kaipat, for example), promotes a mindset that the local population should be managers and upper level employers, and alien workers should be low level, low paid grunts. What this lawfully sanctioned perception does is feed racism; it also undermines the self-worth of those citizens here who are valuable workers, but not management-types.

It also skews the perception of real work. The managers in the CNMI system were mere figureheads, and not really people who were doing things--they were just there because of the need to have a certain percentage of local involvement. So the CNMI system elevated those who did NOTHING or did LITTLE over those who actually worked.

It was a completely mind-boggling system; it has caused harm and wreaked havoc in the lives of everyone here, even those who embraced it.

We should never romanticize it and pretend that it was a "good" system. It wasn't.

What we will have now will be difficult, full of bureaucratic red tape, riddled with ridiculous regulations and costs that seem too steep. But as bad as the American immigration system is, we will also have a system that undoes some of the worst harms of the CNMI Immigration and Labor system. For that, I am grateful.

KAP said...

The federal system is by no means good, it's just better. It's certainly no panacea, and there will still be abuses. By definition, a 'guest worker' is more vulnerable to abuse than a resident.

Tourism will bring this economy back, or not, with some help from federal grants and transfer payments. That's going to take awhile, and I am concerned that the U.S. post-911 tourism policy is terrible.

It was amusing and instructive to see local legislators trying to get USCIS to hire from CNMI Immigration even if the people weren't qualified. That attitude has always been part of the problem.

Paranoid? Yes! said...

"Greg is a guy who talks things out and is about the last person in the world I would ever fear of physical threats."

You should read up on what Dhamer's neighbor's said of him. Or more relevant what the people who knew the gunman in our own local tragedy said of Mr Li.

Jane, I am paranoid. I have talked to Greg and like you have been around him. He has a totally different persona online. He takes on aliases and spouts "Let It Be" mantras and blind dedication to Governor Fitial and against the Federal government that often times defies logic.

He intertwines googled or webster.com adjectives throughout his works in an OCD type fashion.

He has admitted openly to being the backer behind multiple nom d'plumes yet when later confronted gets irate and vicious when his name is associated with the comments he spews.

Look at this thread here. "Dad of Joy's 2 Nephews"?? What is that. And I am sure he was extremely upset that you responded with "Hi Greg". He probably called, emailed or confronted you directly about that. This is extremely concerning. He uses pseudonym as if he wants to conceal his identity yet he also sends out tell tales that tie himself to the comments. This is very similar to serial killers who leave items or tracks to tie themselves to killings so that they CAN be identified in the end.

If you surf the web blogs you will see a very interesting history of some of the things that Greg has posted online. From attacks on L'il Hammerhead having a graphic of the CNMI Seal in a post (and a threat to sue her) to calling Fitial a godsend that just needs 5 more years to finish the job then Hienz can take the reigns.

JMHO

JMHO said...

"The personal attack is less effective and can actually stifle public debate, being counter-productive."

When you analyze what Greg posts and you review it and you attempt to apply logic and it doesn't mesh and this trend continues in all of his online posting you come to the conclusion that logic is not involved in his thinking. Something else is. What is that? It is my opinion that it is rooted in vitriol, deep seated hatred and an attempt to stifle logical and thoughtful debate on issues. He instead spins and preaches mantras intended to brainwash individuals who may not be privy to the facts.

He has most of the facts and insider knowledge that many do not. Rather than assessing all the facts and trying to come to an unbiased opinion he embraces Fitial's policy stances and go forth across the web like spewing lies and half-truths sprinkled with crappy "Speaking words of wisdom" mottos.

He, not I, stiffles public debate and turns it into a frenzy of name calling and baseless tabloidesque crap.

JMHO

Anonymous said...

The same could be said about you, Glen Hunter and Wendy Doromal

Where is our great wall? said...

I agree with you Jane regarding the romantisizing of our recent past. I left this island nearly 20 years ago and just recently returned.

I don't even see anything close to the Great Wall or the Pyramids (other than the empty GIG that was once a thriving disco that rivaled anything in the region). The La Fiesta was not dependent on cheap labor and has been empty for years while we had access to cheap labor.

What I did see upon returning has been eye opening and far from anything I would revel in and consider great development and a prosperous economy. I found destroyed reefs and barren lagoons (in comparison to 20+ years ago. I found empty shells of 30 plus garment warehouses. I found empty strip malls. I discovered that around 70% of those I grew up with and went to school out here with no longer live here. They have families elsewhere. I saw that nearly 90% of the waitstaff, front desk clerks, bartenders,etc were guest workers (I was a waiter 25 years ago and my pals were front desk and housekeeping). I noticed that all the Mom and Pop stores that had once been owned by me and my friends Moms and Pops were now owned by foreign investors. Diego's Mart, Pop's Store, Morgans Mini Mart, Carmen Safeway, Tenda Store, Aldan's Gas Station, Farmers Market, etc. Same with the bars and restaurants like Ship Ashore, House of Chang, Chamorro Village, Town & Country, Chamorro House, etc are all replaced with foreign owned businesses. I noticed the streets that used to be filled with Japanese Tourist were now empty. The golf courses designed 20 years ago by Jack Nicolas were now unkempt. The hotels that used to average 90% occupancy now ran at around 50%. The Jets that used to fly between here and Guam are now prop plans. Direct flights to Japan that used to fly in and out 3 times a day down to 2 twice a week.

Where is our great wall? We had none. 30 years ago we could have built something great.

We had geographic edge with Japan only 2 hours away. We had great resorts and golf courses that were maintained and rivaled those in other areas of the pacific. We had relationships with agents and airlines that secured set routes and put us int he position to be the HUB for the Pacific region. We had locally run businesses and local workers at all levels that kept the money in our economy and didn't funnel it all out. We had a solid foundation birthed of the Covenant to maintain all of this and grow to be prosperous.

What happened?

We got greedy and we got led by some terribly short sighted leaders.

Our downfall is not to blamed on federalization of immigration. It is blamed on our own doing. We embraced garment. We spent millions on lobbyist. We exploited foreign labor and used guest workers to replace local labor rather than filling gaps and instead replaced our local workforce. We pulled in foreign businesses at the expense of local entrepreneurship. We doled out public land to foreign investors instead of catering to local investors. Our leaders did this because they could negotiate kickbacks and become middlemen in the schemes. Do land swaps and make millions overnight.

3 days ago the federal government took control of immigration in the CNMI 27 years ago we destroyed this economy.

Anonymous said...

"The same could be said about you, Glen Hunter and Wendy Doromal"

"I know you are but what am I."

"I did it because he did it first"

ALL SIMILAR STATEMENTS. WHERE ARE THE ADULTS? GROW UP!

Anonymous said...

"The two-tiered system that has been built in structurally to our laws (and touted by Jacinta Kaipat, for example), promotes a mindset that the local population should be managers and upper level employers, and alien workers should be low level, low paid grunts. What this lawfully sanctioned perception does is feed racism; it also undermines the self-worth of those citizens here who are valuable workers, but not management-types. "


SPOT ON!

Anonymous said...

Jane,

Since you work by Greg and it seems you have a pretty good relationship with him, do you think you may be able to ask him about the vehicular manslaughter incidents that have occurred over the past year. it appears that at least 3 people (pedestrians) have been struck and killed by cars and nothing has come of any investigations other than what appears to be a cover up of some sort. No driver names, changed information, no follow-up, blame cast on pedestrians for not being in crosswalks (no crosswalks within 3 miles of the area in question), etc.

Not a must, it just has always been on my mind.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I saw this on another blog and thought it might be a good way to bring things into perspective when speaking of immigrants. The 1800's are not that far off.

________________________

Any idea when they are going to deport (I will add in: or give permanent status to) the overstaying Carolinians?

"The immigration of Carolinians to Saipan began in the early 1800s, after the Spanish reduced the local population of Chamorro natives to just 3,700. They began to immigrate mostly sailing from small canoes from other islands, which a typhoon previously devastated. The Carolinians have a much darker complexion than the native Chamorros."

Idea Aficionado said...

A wise blog hostess who wants to maintain a forum focused on useful information and ideas will prohibit and summarily delete comments that (1) contain personal attacks, (2) discuss other commenters, or (3) are off-topic.

This is particularly important when some of your contributors are prone to incivility and unwelcoming behavior. If you don't want to simply delete the comments, you could move them to a separate thread of non-compliant comments.

Otherwise, Saipan's internet bullies will prevail, and drive out most or all other voices. See the Saipan Middle Road blog for an example of unconstrained personal attacks, discussion of other commenters, and off-topic submissions. Compare that with Wendy's blog.

Sometimes the rule of law has its benefits. Or as Heinz put it in his 2005 campaign, “Follow the rules!”

I prefer a robust discussion of ideas, regardless of who their proponents are.

Others are more concerned about getting “credit” for their words of wisdom.

You decide what is best for your blog.

Anonymous said...

"rule of law" and "words of wisdom".

Where have we seen those phrases before?

I believe those are two of the mantras repeated time and time again by Greg on various blogs. He pulls them out in order to stifle debate and discussion. So far, he has had no luck in doing so. Rather he has had to alter his alias and scurry away.

I have read through this thread and learned quite a bit. There are a few comments that may not "fit" in very well but they are still somewhat pertinent.

You see discussion and dialouge are not as set and unchanging as you would like them to be they are just like rules of law that over time are molded and altered in an attempt to make them better. As we grow and mature we learn to adapt and no longer are we so set and focused when speaking with one another as to not be able to entertain tangential conversations that stem off from the root discussion.

Perhaps I can make this more clear by simply pointing out your own comment directly above. It is severely off the topic of the original blog post. You have just posted a comment regarding your desire for this blog owner to moderate her blog to suit your fancy. You ask that she remove comments that do not stick to the original blog post subject matter. How ironic that your comment in and of itself fits your criteria for deletion.

We are all capable of reading comment posts and coming to our own conclusions. We do not need you to legislate or censor things for our unprepared minds no matter how "enthusiastic" you are about your own "ideas".

What is your fear GB? That people will read things that are not inline with your train of thought? That people will call you on your spin? That people will point out the holes in your fuzzy logic? That we will not be phased by your "Follow the Rules", "Words of Wisdom" and "Let it Be" lines? That people will learn to see things from different perspectives? That you will have to come to the realization that you are the one that is truly being the attacker and the aggressive one, albeit in a passive-aggresive manner (i.e. At this point, it doesn't help to say, “I told you so.").


I stand by my earlier opinion. I strongly believe that you have some serious issues.

JMHO

Anonymous said...

Noni 8:43AM:

You said: "Saipan's internet bullies"

You resemble that remark.

Anonymous said...

When you are dishing it out it is not bullying or stifling debate. When you are receiving it, all of a sudden it is. You rant from blog to blog about the rule of law. You use that to bash those who marched in the Unity March. The Rule of Law is not set on a stone tablet that you hold tightly in your grip. Things change and the rules change.

The USA is a product of CHANGED RULES. The CNMI is as well.

Open up your mind and see things as they are. Federal Immigration has not caused destruction of the CNMI economy, culture and society. If you feel these areas are destroyed than look to find out the real reason why.

I think we have the potential to be a thriving little island. Our culture is strong and just as with law it is always growing and evolving and changing.

I see great things to come in the near future. I see the Rules of Law being further adjusted to suit all of our best interests. I see our culture continuing to grow and adapt. I see our economy adapting and changing in order to truly enrich those who live here. I see our society becoming a true model for the Pacific and the World.

Anonymous said...

Some people “dish it out” with personal attacks or by discussing other commenters.

Others try to participate in a dialogue about the issues at hand.

Who says any particular commenter, including this one, has any objection to consigning inappropriate comments to a separate thread?

Of course, that wouldn't be necessary if everyone would display some elementary courtesy and civility.

Anonymous said...

Noni 1:14PM:

We are not babies that need to be coddled. I believe we can handle a certain amount of dishing when we are discussing opposing views. The world won't end. It is when we stifle debate by censoring or run away when we do not agree with what is being said or cry foul and ask people to be removed when discussion ends and dialouge ceases to exist and progress can no longer be made.

JMHO

KAP said...

Over the years I have developed the amazing ability to skim comments that are irrelevant or objectionable and to skip them.

Lessons in this art are available at nominal cost.

Anonymous said...

A series of anonymous one-sided personal attacks and discussion about another presumed commenter is not "dialogue" in any meaningful sense of the word.

Nor does retaliation on behalf of someone too polite to do so for himself increase the level of social discourse.

Anonymous said...

hmmm. you say something like "i told you so". someone responds and says "shove it" another responds with a different view. another responds with a story about their personal past. another responds with experiences with one of the commentors and their concerns. people respond to the concerns. one guy gets censored and re posts it in a better format after getting the message from the blog host. one guy gets mad that he is being called out for his pissiness. one guy says he self-censors and can teach others this useful talent. you end with there is no dialouge here. i respond to you with this post that shows there clearly is.

love the net!

just another child said...

Yes... the Internet is a electronic sand box where we all come to play.

KAP said...

Not self-censors: skips comments that don't meet his exacting standards.

(he said prissily)

Anonymous said...

I skimmed right over your last comment KAP. :-)