13 Jun 2012

Bill drafted to give residency status to foreign workers in CNMI

2:28 pm on 13 June 2012

Workers groups in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas are pushing for a bill in the United States Congress that will grant permanent residency or green card status to long-term foreign workers.

A draft bill will be presented by the Florida-based human rights advocate Wendy Doromal that says those who have been working legally in the CNMI for at least five years should be granted a pathway to permanent residency.

The United Workers' Movement president Rabby Syed says there is a lot of uncertainty among the territory's foreign workers who feel in limbo.

Mr Syed says before the bill is presented, US politicians need to be educated about the difference between illegal aliens and legitimate workers.

"If there is talk about immigration matters people put us with the people in the mainland, those who enter the United States without the proper documentation. But we are in a legal status in the CNMI because we enter the CNMI with proper documentation."

Rabby Syed says there are about 10,000 legal foreign workers in the CNMI and he says the economy would be in tatters if they were phased out.