2 Jun 2010

CNMI referendum call over US migrant policy

2:57 pm on 2 June 2010

The governor of the Northern Marianas, Benigno Fitial, wants a referendum on the Department of the Interior report recommending improved status to non-resident workers who have lived in the Commonwealth for more than five years.

Mr Fitial says the issue about the workers should be put on the ballot in time for the November 2010 elections when the CNMI will choose a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives.

He had spoken at a rally organised to show to the U.S. Congress that the indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians are strongly against the Interior report, which they say will make them a minority in their homeland.

He reiterated his position that non-resident workers arrived to work under their employment contract, adding that once locals are qualified to do their job, the foreign workers should go home and not seek permanent residency status or U.S. citizenship.

So far, the legislature has not introduced a joint resolution to call for a referendum.