19 May 2009

CNMI migrants ponder appeal to Manila to lobby US

1:49 pm on 19 May 2009

Filipino guest workers in the Northern Marianas are thinking of seeking the help of the Philippines President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in their efforts to have the U.S. Congress grant them long-term immigration status in the CNMI.

The groups said they will write to Ms Macapagal-Arroyo to urge her to appeal to the U.S. government to grant them a more permanent immigration status in the CNMI.

The guest workers are staging a peaceful protest in Garapan outside the Northern Marianas office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Washington is due to take control of immigration into the CNMI from November this year.

But a former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Interior's Office of Insular Affairs, David Cohen, says Washington has to have some flexibility to minimize harm to the CNMI economy.

Meanwhile, Governor Benigno Fitial has gone to Washington to ask the U.S. House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife to delay the effective date of the federalisation law to November 2010 to allow the CNMI more time to prepare for its impacts.