When you get stuck along Beach Road, better take the Middle Road. This is a website for those who choose to tread Saipan's off the beaten path. * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * +

Apr 11, 2008

Breaking News: Senate Passes Federalization and CNMI Delegate Legislation

At 3:50PM Thursday Washington, D.C. time (5:50AM Friday CNMI time), the U.S. Senate passed S. 2739 by a vote of 91-4. Under Title VII of S. 2739, the Federal Government would assume authority over CNMI immigration.

The bill will now go back to the House for routine concurrence (the House already unanimously passed a virtually identical bill) and will likely be signed into law by President Bush in the next couple of weeks.

The Federal Government will take control of the CNMI's guest worker program in a year, although the start date can be delayed by six months. The special CNMI-only guest worker program is initially scheduled to be phased out by December 31, 2014. The phase-out period can, however, be extended indefinitely for periods of up to five years as long as a need can be demonstrated. The CNMI will also, however, always be able to admit foreign workers under the same visas that apply to the rest of the U.S., and during the transition period will not be subject to national caps on H-1B visas (for specialty or professional workers) or H-2B visas (for temporary nonagricultural workers). Contrary to misinformation that has been spread, S. 2739 would not phase out foreign workers in the CNMI; it would simply phase out, at the end of the (indefinitely extendable) transition period, the special CNMI-only guest worker program. Workers could still come to the CNMI under all U.S. visa categories, and there may even be special CNMI-only visa categories added in the future.

Within two years, the Secretary of the Interior (in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Governor of the CNMI) must provide Congress with a report that should include the Secretary of the Interior's recommendations on whether guest workers should be permitted to apply for long-term status under U.S. law.

S. 2739 would also provide for a special visa waiver program for Guam and the CNMI to promote tourism. Citizens of countries on the "visa waiver" list would be able to travel to Guam and/or the CNMI for business or pleasure for up to 45 days without having to go through the hassle of applying for a visa. Any country that has provided a "significant economic benefit" through tourism to the CNMI during the past year (including, Saipan Middle Road would suggest, China and Russia) would be on the visa waiver list unless the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that such country's inclusion on the list would be a threat to welfare, safety or security.

The law would also allow the CNMI and Guam Governors to petition the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of the Interior to add additional countries to the visa waiver list. There is already a pretty long list of countries whose citizens can travel to Guam without a visa. It is a pretty good bet that all of these countries would also be included in the new Guam-CNMI visa waiver program. The Governors can also petitition for consideration of additional special visas for Guam and the CNMI, such as for students or retirees.

The bill provides a good deal of flexibility to the Executive Branch to develop regulations and policies to implement the law. However, the Executive Branch is required to be guided by the following: "In recognition of the Commonwealth's unique economic circumstances, history, and geographical location, it is the intent of the Congress that the Commonwealth be given as much flexibility as possible in maintaining existing businesses and other revenue sources, and developing new economic opportunities."

Finally, S. 2739 will give CNMI voters the opportunity to elect a non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of this year and every two years thereafter.

Here are a couple of questions to consider:

Will the passage of the federalization bill help those who have opposed federalization find common ground with those who have supported it, now that we all have the same interest in making sure that federalization is implemented in a way that supports growth and opportunity for the CNMI?

Will the CNMI administration's allies continue to explore the idea of longer-term residence for CNMI guest workers?


bradinthesand said...

it's just the wrong solution. it's a bad deal all the way around.

cactus said...

Who are the four senators who voted against it? And how did Senators McCain, Obama and Clinton vote?

Ron Hodges said...

This is the offical press release of Rep. George Miller.

“For more than a decade, a lobbyist by the name of Jack Abramoff joined then-Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) and others in Congress to block our reform efforts. We sought these changes so that we could put a stop to the well-documented and widespread abuse of poor men and women in the garment and tourism industry in the CNMI and to better secure America's borders.

“Jack Abramoff is now in prison and Tom Delay has resigned in disgrace. Very few people would defend the status quo in the CNMI, which has done such damage to workers and their families over the years.

“Coupled with the increase in the minimum wage that we enacted last year, this bill will help put an end to the old practices and, I hope, will help the CNMI open a new chapter of economic prosperity in compliance with American law.”

HBM said...

At the end of the day, there was no responsible alternative to federalization. The key now is for everyone to work together to make sure that this is implemented in a way that really helps the CNMI.

carlos the mackerel said...

Oh come on, HBM, you sound like Al Stayman. The real fight over this doesn't even start until the president signs it.

HBM said...

None of the Presidential candidates (Clinton, Obama, McCain) voted. The four "nay" votes were Coburn (R-OK), DeMint (R-SC), Inhofe (R-OK) and Vitter (R-LA). Howard Willens made a strong push at the end to get help from his law school classmate Arlen Specter, who ended up voting for the federalization bill.

HBM said...

If there is a fight over this after the President signs it, it will be a criminal waste of local taxpayer money.

bradinthesand said...

immigration shouldn't be federalized, but labor should. that's the best solution.

that way everyone gets a livable wage and fair working conditions. also, the cnmi gets to control its own borders with regards to tourism.

the federalization of immigration is a bad deal for the cnmi. i know it's allowed in the covenant, but i think it's a crummy deal.

Ron Hodges said...

Chamberonomics 49...free at last

The US Senate voted 91-4 to federalize the CNMI labor and immigration. This is the official press release of Rep. George Miller.

�For more than a decade, a lobbyist by the name of Jack Abramoff joined then-Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) and others in Congress to block our reform efforts. We sought these changes so that we could put a stop to the well-documented and widespread abuse of poor men and women in the garment and tourism industry in the CNMI and to better secure America's borders.

�Jack Abramoff is now in prison and Tom Delay has resigned in disgrace. Very few people would defend the status quo in the CNMI, which has done such damage to workers and their families over the years.

�Coupled with the increase in the minimum wage that we enacted last year, this bill will help put an end to the old practices and, I hope, will help the CNMI open a new chapter of economic prosperity in compliance with American law.�

Now is the time to offer CGW security with an interim bill that protects everyone from deportation. Workers must be protected in our labor hearings. No continuous improvement process can ever be effective unless workers are adequately protected.

Now is the time for CGW and residents demand PL-15-108 be repealed

Now is the time for CGW and locals in the hotel and tourism industry to meet with owners and negotiate improvements in pay, security, and working conditions.

Now is the time for our community to unite. Now is the time for those supporting unity to move. Now is the time to judge the sincerity and integrity of big business, HANMI, the chamber, the current administration, and our local Congresses intentions for improving the lives of contract guest workers and our community.

Congratulations to every contract guest workers in the CNMI.

Ron Hodges
Puerto Rico, Saipan

bradinthesand said...

kiss our russian and chinese tourism markets goodbye...

Gregory Baka said...

I feel very sorry for all the Foreign National Workers who will be adversely affected by the inevitable severe negative economic consequences of this action.

They, and the CNMI as a whole, will need our prayers.

/s/ Greg

Timeclock said...

"At 3:50PM Thursday Washington, D.C. time (8:50AM Friday CNMI time), the U.S. Senate passed S. 2739 by a vote of 91-4."

That would be 5:50 a.m., Friday, Chamorro Standard Time.

HBM said...

Thanks and good catch, Timeclock. It's been corrected.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Greg about the negative effects. Everyone is looking at this as a workers rights bill.

There is so much more to it. The ability for Guam to now have access to CNMI only tourist markets is a huge change and one I don't think received enough coverage.

My suggestion would be for everyone to do some research on H Visas. There may be a CNMI only program, but elements from the US program will certainly be included and may not be as wonderful as everyone thinks.

Honestly though, no one really knows what it's going to look like...people who say they do are only making things worse by creating false hopes for eveyone.
Something to remember when people claim to know what's going to happen.

Congress will move on to other things and we will be forgotten and left to work this out with people 10,000 miles away and who have very little true knowledge about the CNMI.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much to Reps. George Miller & Donna Christensen, Senators Bingaman and Kennedy, human rights advocate Wendy Doromal, CNMI Rep. Tina Sablan, Chamberonomics Ron Hodges, US federal employees Allen Staymen, David Cohen, and Federal Ombudsman Jim Benedetto. Human Dignity Movement founder Gerry Custudio should also be admired.

Thank you so much and our gratitude for your work should never be forgotten

bradinthesand said...

it's all a big mistake...

and what shouldn't be forgotten, your gratitude?

Jeff said...

The people zero miles away don't have much of a clue, either.

Anonymous said...

Sho nuff...Miller finally got back at those foreign fuckers in the CNMI for trying to horn in on his garment pal's profits.

Anonymous said...

Senate Bill 2739 is not just about the CNMI. This bill is a much bigger bill. This bill will designate enormous tracts of Wilderness across the West. These new Wilderness Areas will include lands in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and California. This bill will also designate many miles upon miles of Wild and Scenic Status to many Rivers in the West. The CNMI is only a small part of this bill.

Anonymous said...

Chinese and Russians pose a National security risk when they travel to the CNMI. The 'visa waiver' is a misconception. The difficulty for Russians to travel to the CNMI under Fed regs even with a 'waiver' is very difficult. And it should be. The authorization to board piece of shit probably convinced the US to federalize immigration. The straw that broke the camels back so to speak.

Anonymous said...

I hope Gerry Custodio will qualify for H visa. By the way Gerry, do you have an employer or out of status? If you don't have an employer, better find one whose business gross reaches at least $500,000.00 annually so that he could apply you for H visa. Maybe your buddy Ron Hodges can hire you as his secretary.
Good luck Gerry! And next time, as Zaldy Dandan said, sometimes, we have to be careful what we wish for!

Unintended Consequences said...

Zaldy Dandan said, "Sometimes, we have to be careful what we wish for!"

Within two years we will see indeed how very true that is.

Unless another federal immigration law passes granting amnesty and a pathway to citizenship, the future is bleak for unskilled workers who arrived to the CNMI within the past five years.

Especially for those whose employers cannot afford to renew them.

HBM said...

This is not a time for sour grapes from opponents of federalization, nor is it a time for gloating from supporters. People who whine that bad things will definitely happen are wrong, just as people who think this bill will solve all their problems are wrong. Bad things can happen if this thing isn't implemented right, but the bill gives the CNMI plenty of tools with which to build a much better future. Now that this debate is settled, people can put aside their differences and realize that we all want a better economy. The tools in the bill are the tools we have, so let's devote our energies to figuring out how to use those tools effectively.

Let me suggest the following bargain: Let the guest workers join the business community to support extending the transition period and allowing maximum flexibility for the visa waiver program. Let the locals and the business community join the guest workers in supporting green cards for long term guest workers, which would allow (a) the business community to keep their best workers as long as they're willing to pay them competitively, (b) locals to stop being priced out of the private sector, and (c) guest workers to seek opportunities elsewhere in the U.S., which will probably result in locals re-establishing their majority in their own islands. Then have everyone come united behind this platform to DC, and let the Feds who will be working to put this program together hear one voice from the CNMI. There are strong allies out there who will be willing to help us. This is really a case where unity and some vision can help create a better future for everyone in the CNMI.

Rightly or wrongly, the guest workers have a lot more credibility in DC now than the opponents of federalization. Opponents of federalization have been screaming bloody murder in DC, and no one took them seriously. They just got trounced. I'm not saying that's fair or unfair; it's just what happened. The business community and locals can benefit if issues that are important to them are supported by the guest workers. Guest workers can benefit if locals and the business community support improved status. Let's make this a win win for the CNMI.

Marianas Pride said...

So much talk about this while the CNMI continue to crumble all around you.

Brad, perhaps you should be talking to your esteemed Governor about the waste of OUR taxpayers' money to stop federalization. How many times have we said it is INEVITABLE? Not even Superman Willens could depend on his buddy Specter! The writing was on the wall a long time ago, but this administration was hoping to stall it and find another great savior like Jack Abramoff. There will be another Jack Abramoff...we are still so sad of this great hero who sold his soul to protect our islands from the evil empire, the United States of America!

Brad, you know what is the real RAW deal, or BAD deal? Our government. The one you have often defended. Our Governor and all leaders who are corrupt and continue to run this economy to the ground.

The CNMI has suffered because of stupid greedy ass decisions. The OBN needs to be disbanded, imprisoned, and sent to Siberia.

Do not cry over spilled milk my friends. It is time to move on and concentrate on the bigger things at hand. LIKE CUC! Like the fact that NO ONE wants to come and invest in our islands. Brad, while you are entitled to continue to complain about the Chinese and Russian tourists who won't be coming to our islands because of federalization, I wish you would expend some of that energy into why CUC needs to be audited and why aren't so many of the people who have been investigated and found of wrongdoings by OPA have yet to be prosecuted.

Tourism cannot save us! We have to save ourselves! And the only way we can do that is to CLEAN HOUSE and get rid of the OBN and elect honest and respectable leaders like Tina Sablan.

I have nothing to lose by speaking out and neither do you. I respect your opinions, but I feel that the entire CNMI needs to pull together to clean up this island and put in responsible, honest, educated leaders who will not plunder our islands.

A thought I want to leave you with is, what if the CNMI had effectively run immigration and labor and never stopped increasing the minimum wage? Do you think we would be where we are today? What if we had honest leaders like Tina Sablan? Do you think we would be where we are today?

We cannot and will not solve our problems if we cannot elect good decent people who have a BRAIN!

Marianas Pride said...

By the way, not all of our leaders are evil, corrupt, or a part of the OBN. There are a few of them who I supported and still believe in. They know who they are.

I thank them for standing against the evil gambling initiative even though they get so much pressure from their superiors. Stand against tyranny and oppression...stand your ground.

Thank you...

bradinthesand said...

"Chinese and Russians pose a National security risk when they travel to the CNMI."

how exactly?

"The difficulty for Russians to travel to the CNMI under Fed regs even with a 'waiver' is very difficult. And it should be."

and why is that?

i can't think of one reason why the vacationing chinese (whose government sucks ass) and the russians (whose government also sucks) pose a threat.

now if they're on guam, that's another thing altogether. it's not like saipan's reserve base poses a threat or is of any strategic significance to either military.

bradinthesand said...

...and there's no need to move on to cuc anymore. with all of the businesses leaving and TCN's going home, cuc won't need to produce all that much power anymore.

heck, that two week supply might last two months this time next year

Marianas Pride said...

Another thing. If you have a problem with me or want to meet me face to face to discuss things in a civil manner, I am off island and won't be back until the 23rd of April. In the meantime, you can e-mail me at ed@titanmediagroup.com or call me at 483-7361.

Diplomacy and soft talk went out the window when our islands got screwed repeatedly without a jar of vaseline.



bradinthesand said...

...and you don't have to bag on me about the administration. my stance is solely that nobody who ran last time around would have done a better job. at least none of them had a plan.

i am all for tina! she is truly kicking ass and taking names. but is your support for ralph, on the other hand, driven because you ran the campaign?

sure, t-shirts and beer got him into office, but what is he doing up there these days?

he appears to be more of an "also-ran" who just happened to get in thanks to suds and duds.

bradinthesand said...

"If you have a problem with me..."

me? no way! i think you're cool, man. we just happen to disagree on this one.

i just think labor was the problem, not immigration.

i also think oscar is a problem with all of this gambling crap. hey, nobody wants this damn thing!

aren't the guys on the hill supposed to represent the will of the people rather than impose theirs on the people?

ai adai

Marianas Pride said...

Yes, they are. Ralph is working on a great piece of legislation for our island. I am not at liberty to say what it is, but it will be out soon. He also opposed the austerity measures, which I felt was the right thing to do. Yes, I did help run his campaign, but I also helped the entire Republican party, but disagree with many of them on several issues.

Brad, right now my goal is to get people to come out and challenge the old school mentality of politics, namely the OBN.

We have so many intelligent people, yet so many of them are not willing to run or are not willing to speak up on the issues. And before we know it, they will be leaving Saipan to seek a better life. We need them to stay and fight the good fight and to bring much needed change.

I have nothing to gain by being so damn outspoken. I would be so much better off right now if I just kissed ass and smiled and worked on getting a piece of the pie. No way. The only way my business will do better is if the CNMI as a whole does better.

We need change...desperately. I am amazed that Guam, only 130 miles away, is busy busy busy. Tumon Bay is slamming. Paseo is a ghost town. Why? Again, OBN.

Down with old. In with the new.

A Revolution is what we need. A Revolution of minds...

Peace my brother Brad. Sorry for harping on you. I am so agitated by small-mindedness and the fact that we cannot move ahead because we always have to grease palms and bend over backwards to get anything moving.. it makes me want to hurl.

Tired tired tired of it. It has to end before we move ahead.

Anonymous said...

here's a good starting point then ed.......... give us a list of those you feel are the "obn" as you put it. who are the old boys network? you just said you helped the republicans. which of them are on the special list? we need to know who we are up against. show us the list..............

Anonymous said...

Russian mafia is alive and well on Saipan. Chinese mobsters run the Dynasty and have circled Guam with a nuclear sub. Brad, you are a dumb fuck. How much does the CNMI Gov't PAY you to suck cock?

lil_hammerhead said...

You get paid by the CNMI Gov't to suck c#ck Brad? Where can I get that kind of gig?

Anonymous said...

how much will an H1B Visa cost if that becomes the process?

Base Filing Fee : $320

ACWIA Fee: $750 (1-25 Employees) or $1500 (more than 25 Employees)

Fraud Fee: $500

Premium Processing: $1000

Many organizations will incur other expenses towards the filing like Attorney fees.



I do pray that all non-resident workers get some type of long-term status in the CNMI.. this will definitely be softer on the pocket books of businesses than the H1 process.. and the H1 process is limited to Specialty Occupations, how many existing job categories in the CNMI that have non-resident workers fall under Specialty Occupations?

Anonymous said...

This is a DISASTER to guestworkers...why..ask themseves is there employer is qualified and can meet the federal requirements?....this Federalization is good for the locals because all vacant positions that will be left by Guestworkers will be filled up by locals....two may happen businessman will close his business or hire locals or hire his/her selected gworkers....so those guestworkers rejoicing be PREPARED ...accept the fact.Bear in your mind GRANDFATHERING OF LONGTERM GWORKERS was not there anymore in the bill language.

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder then why stupid ass locals oppose it?

Anonymous said...

If this is better for CNMI economy, I would welcome this. If this is better for U.S. residents/citizens, I would accept this. If this would NOT be good for MOST of the guest workers, I understand it. If guest workers do not understand this, they just have their own personal interest and not actually here to stay to rebuild the economy.
I would go for anything that would make a BETTER CNMI.
Maybe we should stop posting garbage here, instead, opinions that would be helpful in rebuilding this economy & the preparation to do for the coming of FEDS.

HBM said...

The illustration of H-1B filing fees is very misleading. Very few of the current guest workers will go that route. And in any event, the $1,000 premium processing fee is an optional fee to guarantee rush processing. To count it as a normal fee is misleading. The fees for H-2B visas, which many more of the current guest workers would qualify for, are much lower. More importantly, however, these are not the fees that would apply to the transitional guest worker program. Although these fees have not been set yet, they are not likely to include all of the political "add-ons" that drive up the cost of H-1Bs. Those fees are purposely added by Congress to create a disincentive to bring in workers, but no one is going to have a strong incentive to impose these add-ons to the special CNMI-only program.

It is true, however, that the current bill does not guarantee long-term status for the guest workers. It provides for the issue to be considered, and it is now in the interests of the business community, the locals and the guest workers (see earlier comment) that the guest workers be granted longer term status under federal law.

To say that the guest workers are not guaranteed this status is true. It must now be worked on. But it is wrong to say, as some are saying: "Ha, ha, you stupid guest workers. You're all going to have to go home now thanks to federalization." People who say that are engaging in the same scare tactics and truth-bending that Congress and the Administration in DC found so completely unpersuasive.

Truth-Teller said...

Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Can't people share their opinions here without saying that guest workers are "stupid" or "weak"?
That locals are "lazy" or "fat"?
That CNMI is a "paradise" and on the contrary would say "suck"?
That a "general strike" is the only answer to workforce problem?
And the endless and repetitive comments of some people here that don't help anymore to a healthy discussions, but trying to play as "god" and want to be followed by everybody?
Please give positive solutions not destructions.

Anonymous said...

If more non-residents will follow along the lines of H2B, then the following would have to be adhered to under H2B existing requirements:

H2b visa is only available for work that is temporary in nature. There are four situations where work is considered temporary in nature for H2B purposes:

*Recurring seasonal need;
*Intermittent need;
*Peak-load need; and
*One time occurrence.

also, the job must be for less than one year and there must be no qualified and willing U.S. workers available for the job.

Note that this visa is not available for "temporary" agencies or other work placement agencies.

and don't forget that currently there is only a 66,000 per year limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B status.

again this is what exists currently in the U.S. in general - and notwithstanding any changes and lobbying for better conditions for the CNMI - the above is basically what we would have to adhere by if nothing else changes.

and filing for H2B is not that cheap either.. some Attorneys charge as high as $5,000 for all fees to process the visa.

if you don't believe me do a google search on typical h2b & h1b fees from attorneys..

again, the hope is to get some type of long-term status for all the non-residents that have made the CNMI their home.. but if that doesn't happen.. welcome to the H1B & H2B process.. the real winners will be all the attorneys making some serious $$$ processing paperwork for non-resident workers.. and they will pay if they choose to stay..

Pragmatist said...

With all the flaws of the newly passed bill, the cap on H-2 visas fortunately need not be one of our concerns.

This does seem like a good time to open up an immigration document processing business, for lawyers or non-lawyers (who can be enrolled to practice before the USCIS) alike.

But as the above post indicates, there is a lot of misinformation out there.

HBM said...

Don't forget that the transitional guest worker program, which would essentially encompass all of the guest workers who are already here, is to be extended indefinitely as long as it's needed. We don't have to rely on H visas and other existing visas until the CNMI can no longer demonstrate the need to extend the program. And the law allows for the creation of new special visas for the CNMI. I absolutely agree that the long-term solution requires granting permanent status to long-term guest workers. If the only objective is to make sure that we retain these workers without having to pay too much in immigration fees, then they should not be allowed to seek opportunities elsewhere in the U.S. However, as history has shown, that would make them easy to exploit and cause them to drive down wages. The best (although imperfect) solution is therefore to allow them to get green cards, and trust the market to find an equilibrium where we can induce those whom we really need to stay (history, family ties and proximity to the birth country are all advantages) and the rest can be absorbed into the massive U.S. economy.

HBM said...

I'm sure people are a little nervous about giving the Feds the final say on whether the transitional program gets extended, whether to create new special CNMI visas, whether to approve new countries for the visa waiver list, etc. However, there are good reasons why that has to be the case, and allowing the local government to have the final say had become to big a risk and liability. The intent and standards spelled out in the new statute are no guarantee that the Feds will make all the right decisions, but they are still very helpful and are perhaps the best that could have been expected under the circumstances.

bradinthesand said...

"Brad, you are a dumb fuck. How much does the CNMI Gov't PAY you to suck cock?"

but have you ever met a smart fuck? i haven't. if they're out there, how come i never got a smart lap dance?

i never heard a stripper say, "you know, since the end of the cold war, i think nato is obsolete."

or, "i think you should diversify your portfolio."

apologies to chris rock for stealing his stuff.

it would be great to get paid by the cnmi government, but only if i was actually helping. i'm not a fan of being a paid opinion writer.

i think that the cnmi has enough trouble paying its bills already without worrying about me.

and just as a reminder, i'm not the brave one for putting my name out here. but, you are the coward for hurling insults without revealing yourself.

have a great weekend guys n gals.

HBM said...

That should be "too big a risk...", not "to big a risk..."

bradinthesand said...

it dawned on me that i am not so much the administration's bandleader you mentioned.

i believe that title is best bestowed upon a certain resident of delano, california. remember him?

the only thing i maintain is that everyone who ran for governor in 2005 was setting themselves up for a thankless job.

of that same pool of candidates, i don't believe that anybody would have done a better job than the current administration.

gov't income drops and austerity measures were taken. the cost of fuel doubles, and the cuc rates jump.

who had a better plan for the loss of the garment factory income and the worldwide increase of oil prices?

nobody had a plan for what we're dealing with, and if they did, they surely haven't shared it.

if anyone has a better idea today, i'm all for it. oh, i also maintain that the federalization of the cnmi's immigration isn't the solution to what ails us.

but that has nothing to do with this administration.

i don't agree with everything that anyone says or does.

so my question is still waiting to be answered. who would have done better during the past couple of years and how would they have done it?

it's on you, anonymous. or anyone else, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

congratulations to all! We need quality leaders not followers of taotano and siemer!

Marianas Pride said...

Brad, you had me at hello...you had me at hello! ;)

Who was the Delano, California guy? Hmmm, could it be the brilliant Dr. Jesus Camacho? He apparently had the answer to all of our problems. I think he could have also solved tooth decay, found a cure for cancer, and secured world peace and harmony, all while telling us how to run our government.

It is interesting that Dr. Jesus Camacho wrote an article every single day criticizing the Babauta administration, but to date, has yet to write one single letter criticizing the Fitial administration?

Hmmm, conspiracy???

bradinthesand said...

apparently he was supposed to have come up with some sort of financial plan, but nobody has seen it.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Bruce Bateman for governor!

Marianas Pride said...

Brad Ruszala for Lt. Governor!

Anonymous said...

Everyone else head for the boats!

Ron Hodges said...

Business, HANMI, the chamber, this administration, and our long befuddled lawmakers should not have opposed David Cohen's original bill. Passage of that bill would have improved status of CGW, mostly unskilled, who would have taken flight from the commonwealth, which would have opened the door to unlimited highly skilled workers, an advantage, to quote Cohen "that Silicon Valley would kill for".

The original bill would have guaranteed Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo would have made enormous investment here. The fed fighters fought that until it was revised, and pulled the unlimited cap advantage (that we would have had against all US states and territories), effectively shooting ourselves in the foot and our current administration is completely responsible for blocking that bill.

Today’s paper says the administration is weighing options, Lynn is monitoring the situation in DC, and Howard is going to join her there…for what, to squander more NMI money?

Need property in the NMI?

Call A1 Real Estate at 233-1144

Truth-Teller said...

"The original bill would have guaranteed Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo would have made enormous investment here."

What on earth are you smoking?! They didn't come during the boom of the 1990s because Silicon Valley employees also value the cultural amenities of a big city. We had all the immigration incentives in the world, but the only industry for whom wages were such a predominant factor of production turned out to be the garment industry.

Turning to the central issue, the fate of the recently-arrived (less than five years) unskilled workers, people are overlooking a central feature of the law establishing a CNMI-only transition program.

It must pay for itself.

The H-1/2 program might be "only" $1,000 or so per worker because of the economies of scale.

Depending on how USCIS allocates the costs of running the CNMI transition program, one could easily see the cost for an employer to process a single Foreign National Worker rise from $275 to $2500 or more.

Unless we have an amnesty for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own -- due to economic downsizing -- and yet remained here anyway, we are going to have a lot of Foreign National Workers going home in the next thirteen months.

Amnesty now! (?)

Ron Hodges said...

anonomous truth teller - I would agree with your call for amnesty but would disagree with your economics regarding enormous investment here, which is a dead issue since the fed fighters here were the cause of blocking this original bill.

Marianas Pride said...

Wait. Gov. Fitial wants to spend more of our taxpayers' money on fighting federalization.

I am thinking about a class action lawsuit. Anyone interested? Spending OUR money on something that is INEVITABLE is as bad as hiring your cousin or family member. Ooops, sorry, didn't mean to offend anyone. That is the norm and it is CULTURAL brut!

Biba koruption!

Truth-Teller said...


Let's solve the Commonwealth's fiscal problems by spending more money on class action lawsuits to stop self-government injunction lawsuits.


Anonymous said...

Beware of self-proclaimed "Truth Tellers". True, there is no "guarantee" that Microsoft or Google would set up shop here, but it would make a lot of sense. Some credible folks actually urged CNMI leaders to market this to tech companies in the 1990s, but the leaders at the time rejected it because they thought they'd always be rolling in garment and tourism cash. Software engineers from India and China don't all need the urban amenities the Bay Area, and there are advantages to U.S. companies operating on U.S. soil rather than in foreign countries with different currency, legal systems, etc.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that the filing fees for the temporary guest worker program will be significantly higher than current CNMI fees. For one thing, the CNMI generally requires annual renewals in order to raise revenue. If the Feds issue permits that are good for two or three years, the average annual processing fee could actually be significantly less than what employers currently have to pay. Some members of Congress, including Don Young, specifically conditioned their support the bill on the assumption that fees would be kept low. There will be pressure on DHS to keep the fees low from the CNMI's true friends in Congress (Akaka, Inouye, Young, Bordallo, Faleomavaega, Flake, Christensen, Fortuno, Murkowski, Domenici, Bingaman, the new CNMI Congressman, etc.), all of whom supported federalization. This is something that a united community can lobby for with a much better chance of success than the recent lobbying for an absolute rejectionist platform.

Anonymous said...

Beware of people who claim to "know" that filing fees will skyrocket, that important tourism markets will be shut down, that all the guest workers will have to go home, etc., etc. These are all issues on which there is plenty of opportunity for the CNMI to have influence. It's true that the anti-federalization lobby was not taken seriously in DC, but that has to do with baggage that they carried (arguably more baggage than they deserved, but much of it well earned) and the fact that there were strong, credible voices from the CNMI that were contradicting them. I believe that there is sensitivity in DC to the CNMI's economic plight, although most people in DC noticed that the economy was already in the dumps for reasons other than federalization. A united CNMI will have more credibility and should able to get support for regulations (or even statutory amendments) that will be very helpful to the CNMI economy. This is where a little advocacy--on behalf of the entire community this time, and not just the privileged few--might not be as futile as the recent attempt to defy gravity.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice the story in the Saipan Tribune today that stated as fact that under federalization, tourist would have to travel to the U.S. embassy in their home country in order to get authorization to come to the CNMI? Not so. The new law has an extensive visa waiver provision. We don't know what countries will be included yet, but there's no reason not to include at least all of the countries that Guam gets. Will Russia and China be included? It's actually possible, because the bill allows bonds and other security measures to be used to mitigate risks associated with specific countries. That's something that the existing visa waiver programs don't have. The bill offers the tools to make a China and Russia visa waiver as acceptable as can be. Rather than whining about how the loss of China and Russia tourists is a foregone conclusion, people should be figuring out how to show the Feds how they can use the tools of this bill to get themselves comfortable with China and Russia visa waivers. That, combined with the intent language of the statute (be flexible, promote tourism, strenthen the economy) and pressure from friends in Congress, might actually succeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of people complaining that the federalization bill "does not guarantee" this or "could cause" that. The ramp-up period is designed to identify those important issues and try to address them. We must engage with the Feds! Only this time, we have to get our ducks in a row and make sure we're speaking for as broad a cross-section of the community as possible. And let's not ruin our credibility by trying to BS the Feds, because they're not all as dumb as they look. Some of the claims made in this last go round of lobbying were embarassing. If we handle it right, we can have a positive influence on this process.

bradinthesand said...

why would a tech firm come to a place with shitty ass power?

bradinthesand said...

eight hours and counting on beach road without power today. anyone else lose power last night?

Anonymous said...

For the right to bring unlimited numbers of brilliant software engineers onto U.S. soil, a tech firm should be willing to invest in its own generators. That is not to say that the sh*tty *ss power problem doesn't need to be fixed, though.

Anonymous said...


Truth-Teller said...

Beware of self-proclaimed "Truth Tellers".

Beware of self-proclaimed "Anonymous" commenters who are too lazy to type in a moniker for reference purposes, yet delight in ad hominem attacks against the chosen label of those who do.

Beware of know-it-alls who apparently are not even familiar with the provisions of the law requiring full cost recovery from the employers.

Beware of pie-in-the-sky advisors who want to sell us a bill of goods as if tourist waivers from Indonesia and Malaysia were a "benefit."


You are worse than Dekada Shyster and the Ombudsperson, both of whom, at least, seemed genuinely motivated by helping the CNMI from their own big-government perspective.

These Anonymous posts above are double talk. "Federalization helps security." Ha! You can keep your terrorism tourists. We don't want Indonesian and Malaysian bombers in the CNMI! "Federalization helps our economy." Yet we could have brought these industries in without federalization, according to the ad hominem attacking Anonymous.

Shame, shame! Oh, some people seem to have none.

bradinthesand said...

"We don't want Indonesian and Malaysian bombers in the CNMI!"


ol' school mutha fucka said...

you can "ad hominem" on my dick, beeyatch. now go on into da kitchen and grab me some chicken wangs.

Anonymous said...

Beware of pompous anonymous self-proclaimed truth tellers who delight in ad hominem attacks on other anonymous commenters for not choosing an anonymous name other than "Anonymous". Outrageous! Shame! Shame! :-)

Anonymous said...

And while we're at it, beware of pompous anonymous self-proclaimed truth tellers who decry (imaginary) personal attacks in the very same post where they call other people names ("Dekada Shyster", "Ombudsperson"). Ha!

Anonymous said...

We don't want Indonesian and Malaysian bombers in the CNMI! We want Chinese spies and Russian mobsters!

Anonymous said...

Hey does anybody know when the law will be signed?

The Pompous One said...

Not soon enough.

Weird Elle said...

On a related note...The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress, released on April 14 this March 2008 report titled "Pending legislation would apply US immigration law to the CNMI with a transition period."

It basically says legislation applies U.S. immigration law to the CNMI and provides federal agencies some flexibility in preserving the CNMI’s access to workers, tourists, and foreign investors as it transitions to a federal system.

However, without implementing regulations, key details remain unknown, GAO adds.

The CNMI government disagreed with GAO's analysis of the legislation in three particular areas.

Here's the link:


Anonymous said...

Based on reliable source....longterm guestworkers will "leave first "once federal come in.....posible cause they are immediately qualified for greencard?......that good again for new topic how about you blogger?

Anonymous said...

No, Fellow Anonymous, the new law will not entitle long-term guest workers to green cards. It is possible that something like that could happen in the future, but there's no guarantee, and it is not in the version of the bill that will likely be enacted soon.

Anonymous said...

The governor kept saying that they should wait until the GAO report came out before voting on federal takeover. Well the report is out and it does not help his case at all. And the thing is that he must have known that because his office saw the report and responded to it before it came out. So what was all this nonsense that Congress should have waited for the report, or that people were hiding the report because it would have helped the anti federal takeover case? It was all a bunch of nonsense and they knew it.

Buffalo Rider said...

Mr. Willens probably expected the GAO to give greater credence to his objections in modifying the draft. Or was Charles Reyes also referring to an economic report?

Did you notice that on page 104 of the GAO report, Interior has demonstrated itself to be as ignorant and out of touch as ever?

"Aliens in the United States who have Lawful Permanent Residence, i.e., green cards, must not be absent from the United States for a specified number of years, or they lose their LPR status. Immediate relatives who have this status and who have come to live in the CNMI were in danger of losing their LPR status because they were technically outside the United States.

This is flat-out wrong. Covenant Section 506(c) makes clear that the CNMI is part of the U.S. for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens permanently residing in the CNMI. It is the holders of occupational green cards, or IRs who travel permanently to the CNMI unaccompanied by their U.S.-citizen relative, who have to make an annual trip to Guam to maintain status, or petition USCIS beforehand for an extension, but not immediate relatives of U.S. citizens permanently residing in the CNMI. (!)

One would think Interior lawyers might know something about the Covenant, but apparently that is too much to ask.

Then again, this is the same Interior that persists in trying to insert itself into the adjudicative independence of the CNMI OAG Office of Refugee Protection, and into the prosecutorial independence of the CNMI OAG Criminal Division, both in blatant violation of the applicable canons of professional responsibility.

Even more egregious, in one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the Department of the Interior, the Office of Insular Affairs evilly and maliciously accused OAG attorneys of treasonously collaborating with and being under sway of the People's Republic of China -- a baseless, vile, and utterly false accusation for political purposes that would likely render its proponents morally unfit for admission as an attorney in the CNMI.

But, hey, we got the federalization bill we needed, to the long-term benefit of the CNMI. "All is fair in politics." Who cares about honor? Right?

Indeed, Judge Lamberth (D.D.C.) is well aware of Interior's "honor."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Get over it, Matt.

Anonymous said...

Get over it, Deanne.

Anonymous said...

Get over it, Ombudsperson.

Weird Elle said...

Why can't we all just get along? :)

HBM said...

Get over it, Weird Elle.

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand a word of Buffalo Rider's comment, but what I took from it is that the US Interior Department is more evil than Al Qaeda. Wow, who knew?

Anonymous said...

Buffalo Rider sounds like he or she writes for Pacific Times. I'll bet she's Libra Mae Sparks.

Anonymous said...

Get over it, Libra Mae Sparks.

Anonymous said...

Bring me the hot, sultry bitch with the fire in her eyes! I love you, Libra Mae! Especially when you talk dirty to me (about Interior)!

Anonymous said...

Libra Mae, there's something about your psychotic incoherence that TURNS ME ON!

Anonymous said...

Hey Charles Reyes: When you're alone at your computer writing as Libra Mae Sparks, do you wear a wig? Like in "Psycho"?

Anonymous said...

this is getting silly

Anonymous said...

Silly? You think that the evildoers in the federal government evilly and maliciously doing, uh, whatever Buffalo Rider said they were doing, is silly? What's wrong with you? Are you with us or against us?

Anonymous said...

So when is the House going to vote for it again?

Anonymous said...

How many people attended the Thanksgiving Mass on Sunday? Did the groups that had been arguing come back together?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone understand Greg Cruz's letter to the editor?

Anonymous said...

nice people at mass and picnic with letter signing afterwards
lupe manglona, jerry custudio, ron hodges, and many more spoke thank you all

Anonymous said...

president signed at 6am our time and i think 4 ther

s.2739 is law

Buffalo Rider said...

There’s nothing in today’s White House news about it. He did proclaim National Park Week yesterday.

When the bill is signed, it will get a Public Law number.

But soon.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it was signed. The House still has to agree to the new version, which is virtually identical to what they passed unanimously.

Anonymous said...

I've read at CNMI guest workers blog they are forming a new group so called"Unifying Group of Guestworkers"....so its different group again from UNIty March Group which led by DEKADA,MOVERS,UFO and Human Dignity Movement....Is this Unity March Group divided?...who's group now got more numbers....will see....but I beleived DEKADA is the author of this plight I remembered it was August,2004 when started the original SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN for longterm guestworkers.

Anonymous said...

We need true leaders not followers of Siemer.Pls. do not misleadf and misinform the guest workers.You might be dancing with wolves.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

True leaders..who's your leader? please check his status now in cnmi..mislead and misinform you said..did you already read the content of GAO report..its very clear within 2 to 5 years feds will eliminating mostly guestworkers whether you are longterm guestworkers or not ,what about there innocent children?...let us explain to our fellow guestwokers that this is the TRUE SCENARIO of federal..let them know GRANDFATHERING of gworkers is not anymore in the language.How about you, YOU WANNA DANCE WITH THE ELEPHANTS?....

HBM said...

With respect, that's not what the GAO report said. The special CNMI guest worker program can be extended for as long as necessary. It will be important to convince the Feds that extending the program will be necessary, but there should be pretty strong agreement among all segments of the community on that one. Also, while grandfathering is not in the version of the bill that will pass, enhanced status is not dead. It should be considered again within two years. No guarantees here, but all of these important issues are still alive.

Buffalo Rider said...

As alive as the economic fortunes of the contract guest workers' employers.

HBM said...

Which of course is true with or without federalization. Jobs were being lost at an alarming rate before the latest round of the federalization debate ever started. No one has presented anything credible to suggest that any sort of recovery would be imminent if only we would stick with the status quo.

Big Time said...

Tell that first sentence to the Fitial bashers and OBN critics.

If you check what numbers are available, you'll see that the employment decline worsened with the minimum wage increase, passage of federalization, and congressional refusal to reduce the 50% minimum of Headnote 3(a). Big time.

Of course, we still don't have an economic report, and the feds have been as lax in their collection of economic statistics in the CNMI as they have been in enforcing federal law here (and Interior has been in respecting adjudicative and prosecutorial independence and ethics).

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Can we get more hot Asian women?

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Not sure about you all but I would like to see Mr. Kimo Mafnas Rosario run for an elected seat. House, Senate, Non-voting Delegate, or whatever!

Pragmatic Pluto said...

Why would anyone ever do that?

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