29 Nov 2011

CNMI foreign workers holding out for Washington change of heart

2:39 pm on 29 November 2011

While the deadline for many alien workers to leave the Northern Marianas has passed, human rights groups continue to push for Washington to allow them to stay.

Foreign workers in the US territory were required to leave by the beginning of this week under requirements made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Large numbers remain - some with Contract Worker status, which means they have jobs that locals can't fill, and others who may qualify under conditions announced last week by Washington. That would allow some people, with long term or family links to the US, to stay another year at least. Others, covered by umbrella permits, which expired on Sunday, have sought humanitarian parole or Commonwealth-only worker status. The president of the Dekada Movement, Bonifacio Sagana, says it has been frustrating that Congress continues to ignore Interior's recommendation to grant improved status to the long-term foreign workers. And the president of United Workers Movement, Rabby Syed, says he remains hopeful that something can still be done and that the workers can eventually get US citizenship."