Thursday, March 8, 2007

There Has Been Major Improvement on the CNMI!

Thanks to the Fitial Administration -- there has been daily improvements with the CNMI's immigration challenges. The DC Democrats like to pound out old outdated and isolated incidents to further promote their political agenda and destroy the CNMI economy.

Look at today's paper:

The DC Democrats don't want the rest of the folks in DC to learn that improvement is constantly happening to improve the CNMI -- without a federal take over.

If the DC Democrats really want to assist the people of the CNMI, why not focus on legislation which will stimulate the local economy? What about efforts to help bring drinking water infrastructure to the US Citizens and visitors of the CNMI? In fact, bringing in infrastructure to help us have drinking water would cost LESS than what the US taxpayers would have to pay to federalize our immigration. This alone would help our people while create a strong infrastructure to invite good foreign investment -- so we can rely on ourselves and our hard work.

Based on the DC Democrats' quick and aggressive legislative assault. Their true agenda is clear -- destroy the people of the CNMI with their mean-spirited demonization of our Islands while creating legislation to which will zap growth from our economy.

We are able to help ourselves as long as the DC Democrats are stopped.


Anonymous said...

The current leadership in the CNMI is doing a great job, especially given the bad shape the government was in before Fitial was sworn in. The economy has had a downturn, but despite this fact, leadership has addressed the challenge head on. Government spending has been cut and there has been aggressive efforts in economic development recruitment. If the CNMI was left alone we can bounce back stronger than ever!

Anonymous said...

I thought this would go well with your blog and today's particular highlight of our improvements. It is an email circulated to leaders in the CNMI Community where the Director of our Immigration, Mr. Mel Grey is addressing most of the concerns that the DC Dems have.

Of course, you and I know, the DC Dems really don't care about truth, just like that nut case on Daily Kos does either (Dengre).

They would rather the entire world think us "poor islander folk" don't know any better and that we need to be saved by the likes of the "evil foreign investors".

I hope this can shed some light on the issue of immigration here and if anything else, can correct the lies and false statements that the Dems like George Miller, Nancy Pelosi and Jon Tester like to use as talking points.

In addition, since Dengre is a frequent poster on your site, I would hope he reads this.

I CHALLENGE him(Dengre) to post these positives on his obvious "bash the CNMI site", but I would highly doubt that would fit into his democratic hit piece on us. Especially since we are all regarded as "too stupid" to fix the situation ourselves.

The CNMI is doing a much better job with its Immigration than most people realize.

However, Let me address a couple of things in this email:

Too often our detractors throw out unsupported statements and innuendos that have no supporting information. Unfortunately this happens from within our own community as well. Misperceptions, and innuendos are far too often taken as reality.

I would like to see people support their accusations and innuendos with specifics, names, occasions etc... information that is verifiable.

1) Personnel issues...inadequate personnel....budget restrictions on hiring, lack of applicants, lack of qualified applicants...these are issues that cannot be overcome by an agency by simply moving forward, there has to be resources and authority in place before some of these issues can be dealt with. Training, there has been training taking place recently. Again funding has to be made available before we can act on some of this training that we would like to have. We have been asking for training assistance from the the US Customs and Border Protection since March of 2006 and only just this month, Feb 2007, have we gotten any response from them.

2) The electronic data bases are being used more than I think most realize. Paperwork/hardcopies are a necessary part of creating an electronic data base and the paperwork then becomes the back-up for processing yet it is still necessary for legal proceedings.

Tracking guest workers I would leave that more to Tom Torres to address specifically but my contact with Tom indicates that we can track people at a much higher level of accuracy than most people are in a position to appreciate.

3) Illegal guest workers...... my first question is where do the estimated numbers of 3,000 and 5,000 come from? Are they guesses? Are they based on access to data bases? Are they based on any enforcement operations?

These numbers to me are highly suspect as to reliability if a data base and enforcement operations are not a part of coming up with an estimate.

For Example: Several years ago the CNMI executed an "amnesty" program when there were "estimates" of 7,000 illegals in the CNMI. It is my understanding that under that program approximately 2,000 people came forward to take advantage of the offer. That is far below the "estimated" 7,000 illegals talked about. Of those 2,000 people approximately 1,000 were actually in a legal status. It was just that the program also offered to get those in a short-term status into a full-term status, such as those being on TWAs or Letters of Authorization to Seek employment. So why would the remaining estimated 6,000 not come opinion is that they did not because they did not exist. Who wouldn't come forward to take advantage of such a generous offer of amnesty?

In 2006 we did a 2 1/2 month enforcement task force operation in Garapan because of the "perception" better termed as a "misperception" that all of those people seen in the Garapan area were illegal, so why wasn't Immigration picking them up. The answer is because they are not all illegal.

During the 2 1/2 month operation in the Garapan area we arrested 3 people who were out of status, all other people encountered had a legal status. The public has a misperception of these people as to their status in the CNMI.

Immigration officers, under the law, cannot approach someone to ask them about their citizenship and status in the CNMI without having probable cause, we follow the law.

We used a broader scope of enforcement authorities than had been used before in Garapan operations to facilitate and enhance our enforcement capabilities. For example; the Department of Public Health can ask a food business for its license, health certificate and the health certificates on the employees. Until that time Immigration cannot question the owner or the employees as to their Immigration status, if they did they would most likely loose the case in court. Once the Department of health has identified them they can then turn to the Immigration Officers and advise them, these folks per their identification presented, are not U.S. Citizens, this opens the door for Immigration questioning. This operational procedure allowed Immigration to question others on the street or in vehicles, again using another authority to open the door for Immigration questioning.

The "no hire" list being processed by labor, using a data base, not guesses, has come up with approximately 3,000 names to be published to verify status in the CNMI. My understanding is that of the initial list of 1,000 names published, 500 were promptly cleared as having status and approximately 200 admitted to their being out of status and they were volunteering to depart the CNMI. Even if the continued processing of the names on that initial list came up with another 100 names of illegals then using that as a "reasonable" basis for an estimate we can reasonably estimate the there might be 600 additional illegals identified. providing for a total of 900 illegals. This is far below the 3,000 or 5,000 being presented as an estimate.

So it is shown by using enforcement operations and real data bases that we can provide a more realistic number regarding illegal guest workers in the CNMI. The 3,00 to 5,000 numbers are apparently over-stated and unsupportable.

4) Conversion of tourists to Guest workers .... the law prohibits this from happening.

If anyone has specific information on such a thing happening then it should be reported to Immigration. This appears to be another unsupported statement from detractors who would malign the CNMI.

Since I have been in the Director position it has been repeatedly stated to me by our processing officers that this is not being done. I have personally interviewed people who have asked for such an adjustment from tourist to contract worker and I then told them it cannot be done. I have denied Visitor Entry Permits (VEPs) to people whom I have determined were coming into the CNMI to look for work while here under a VEP. The VEP is NOT a "job hunting ticket".

5) This issue I will leave to a labor official.

6) The legislature enacted law in 2006 that has given Immigration a law with more teeth to support addressing fraudulent marriages. The Attorney General signed off on new Immigration Regulations in January 2007 that give Immigration more teeth in addressing fraudulent marriages. With these in-hand, Immigration and the AGIU Investigators are moving forward on addressing possible and probable fraudulent marriages as these area more clearly defined under the new law. We have to remember we are a nation of laws and there is a legal process by which we must proceed. Arrests have recently been made and more will follow regarding fraudulent marriages and Letters of Revocation of IR status will be be mailed very soon. The aliens and sponsoring spouses will be given an opportunity under due process and procedures to defend their status as an IR.

Some would like to see the marriage licenses undergo some review by Immigration prior to the granting of a marriage license. The truth is, a marriage is of no consequence to Immigration unless someone is asking for Immigration benefits based on that marriage. If it is a bigamous marriage then other agencies should address the issue and if there is a conviction for a bigamous marriage then Immigration can properly become involved in looking into the case for removal of an alien based on a conviction.

Mel Grey
Director of Immigration

This email exchange was best summed up by one individual's comments:

The issues that have been brought to light by our Federal Government are again inexcusable but I must stress NOT UNIQUE to the CNMI, they unfortunately exist everywhere, even under the U.S. INS system. I believe with Federal support [NOT TAKEOVER] we can manage our internal operation of Labor and Immigration and we as a community must hold our elected leaders' feet to the fire to uphold the laws to maintain this privilege. Why is BIG BROTHER the answer to all our woes?