United Workers Movement-NMI president Rabby Syed urged yesterday all foreign workers whose Commonwealth-only worker petitions were denied to join them in an open forum at 7pm tonight near the TSL Plaza in Garapan where they have been holding a 24-hour vigil.
The vigil, which will wrap up on Sept. 15, opposes the extension of the transitional CW program beyond Dec. 31, 2014, and supports the grant of improved immigration status to long-term legal foreign workers in the CNMI. Over 1,200 have so far signed a petition on these matters, Syed said.
“We are proposing a plan of action for those whose CW petitions were denied so we are inviting them on Saturday night, and we will bring this to the attention of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other federal agencies,” Syed said yesterday.
In the open forum, officers and members of the United Workers Movement-NMI, Dekada Movement, and Human Dignity Movement will also explain their reasons for opposing the extension of the CW program and recommending instead a grant of improve immigration status to long-term legal alien workers.
In their petition addressed to DHS' Napolitano, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, and other local and federal officials, the foreign workers asked for a “grant of permanent residency status and a direct pathway to citizenship.”
The worker groups said the CW program “has not provided the stability and secure future that legal long-term foreign workers of the CNMI had envisioned.”
“The worst part of the CNMI-only transitional worker program is that the CW-1 status is strictly a temporary worker status and none of our years working on U.S. soil under this program will count for upgraded U.S. permanent residency status or a pathway to citizenship,” the petitioners wrote.