18 Feb 2011

Foreign workers to march in CNMI against immigration proposal

2:03 pm on 18 February 2011

Thousands are predicted to join a march in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas next week in opposition to changes by the Senate to a draft recommendation on the immigration status of non-resident workers.

Our correspondent says the Saipan march, from Kilili Beach to the Multi-Purpose Centre in Susupe, is a protest against restrictions on who can apply for a status similar to that of Freely Associated States citizens.

FAS citizens are those from Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Mark Rabago says the new recommendation allows only those who've been in CNMI for 10 years to apply in 2013 for FAS-like status and does away with any provision for workers who've been there for five years or more.

But he says they're not the only reasons the workers are protesting.

"What non-resident workers here are asking and clamouring for is a pathway to citizenship, to having green cards, because they've been here for so long. And under US immigration law, five year continuous stay entitles you for a green card."

Our correspondent in CNMI, Mark Rabago.