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    Monday, December 18, 2017-7:01:41A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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OPINION: Short time, no option

WHAT’S the current CNMI population?  About 55,165?  Let’s talk numbers. 

The community breakdown doesn’t indicate the people’s immigration status. That could have helped show how many would still be here Jan. 1, 2020. That’s the “zero balance” date for the CWs. Of the estimated 55,165, take away the 17,496 “Removables,” and we have left by Jan. 1, 2020 approx. 41,679.

These are approximate numbers only. The DHS notification of numerical limitation shows that for FY-2018, the CAP is set at 9,998. For FY-2019, the CAP is 4,999. For FY 2020, the CAP is 2,499, and this last figure is good until Dec. 31, 2019. And then, ZERO. So, adding up all these CAP figures shows the recorded CW persons at approximately 17,496 as of Nov. 22, 2017 report.

So, if this number would still be good between 2017 and 2020, would it still be strong enough to continue maintaining our current viable economy?

For example, the hotels, apartments, CUC, CHCC, construction and other projects, etc.? Would the payroll be met?

The GAO Report on our economic stance, from our Labor Department, is not very encouraging. That 17,496 “Removables” CWs consumers is a formidable number.

U.S.P.L. 110-229 of 2008 said that the entire CWs will be completely phased out, and that no more CWs would be allowed to be hired. Jan. 1, 2020-zero CW.

It’s expensive to hire an American citizen from the mainland, the airfare, getting rid of their U.S. lodgings, finding a lodging here, etc.

But, wait a minute. The CWs got American citizen kids who cannot be kicked out of a U.S. soil. “No way, Jose.” And, at age 21, they could sponsor their alien parents.

These kids have the full protection of the U.S. Constitutional and procedural rights. “Due process” is the word.

As a matter of fact, the U.S. DOJ DHS, and USCIS, should step up and provide constitutional protection for these kids, parents included.

A new business group in town, Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp., headed by Alex Sablan, is trying to persuade the U.S. Congress to be favorable with us regarding CWs, specifically U.S.P.L. 110-229 amendments.

Gov. Ralph Torres, also, is on the similar mission. Alex Sablan said he’s shooting for an increased CW level to 18,000. Of that number, 15,000 for Saipan, 3,000 count for Tinian and Rota, and to forward the cut-off point to 10-year plus, to Dec.31 2029, vice Jan. 1, 2020. Sound sensible.

So, what’s in the future should all these efforts fail? Obviously, we’re water-locked. Let’s make the best use of the situation. No overland express tractor-trailer, no train, no barge, no freeway, etc. Everything has to be shipped in. And not many of us residents-consumers after the CWs exit.

The U.S. better not stop the visa-free program, otherwise, how are PRC and Russia to be replaced? We got good tourist numbers from PRC.

We need to know for planning purposes. And if everything still fail, should we sue the U.S. government to amend U.S.P.L. 110-229?

Our Legislature is contemplating on doing that.

“Immigration or bust.” But, aren’t we playing into the hands of CWs? Beach Road marching and demonstrations, etc.? So now, we’re putting our expertise to work to retain these very same CWs who demonstrated against us a while back.

The marchers wanted the “feds” to take over immigration from us in the hope that the U.S. be more merciful to their plight. Not.

The “feds” are worse. They want the CWs out of the CNMI. Empty it. How many would actually depart? How many will take to the “black forest” again? H-2B visa? H-2A? EBs? But the field of immigration and visa law is complicated.

All in all, we should have taken care of all these headaches years ago. We saw it coming, the CWs and the potential economic downswing, right? Nonchalant. Very little imagination on major economic issues, and business management experience.

Or is it “Let Nature Takes Its Course at $120,000 per annum pay?” No fence-straddling, jump it?  

So now, USCIS justifies its latest CW cap figures as a “rule” in compliance with “110-229” mandate as if we were ruled by the federal government.

Federalism? Territorial Clause? Remember the promises of the U.S. negotiators in our Covenant? We are political partners, and not U.S. political soil, neither are we a U.S. colony. That’s why most of the provisions of the U.S. Constitution cannot be applied here. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t, necessarily, follow the flag, said Professor Mary Beth Herald of “Hastings Law.” Only restricted application to a territory which is not destined to become a state of the United States.

And the Territorial Clause? It was the U.S. Congress that agreed to our interest. It has original immigration jurisdiction, not U.S. DOJ, USCIS, nor DHS. Just following the P.L. 110-229 mandate from Congress. And I remember Congress reprimanding President Obama on his circuitous immigration idea, reported in a mainland news during his presidency. But, good luck and thumbs up “Pilgrims.” Ya hafa i “Popula” Party na esta ti ha galuluti i “Territorio?” Thumbs up.

The writer is a resident of Garapan, Saipan.