I am who I am


When I committed myself to advocating for the guest workers of CNMI, I promised myself that I will do it wholeheartedly and with eyes wide open that other people will not like what I write or say. After all, people have differing opinions regardless of issue. We can never have the same belief and opinion over the same issue. What is important to me is that I took a stand on an issue that was close to my heart then and even up to today. No bullshit. I cried the other day just thinking what will happen to the guest workers and how scared they must have been these days not knowing what the future holds for them.

I stand for guest workers who deserve to have a secured employment status regardless of where they are. When I asked for permanent or improved status for the CNMI guest workers, I asked on behalf of those who are deserving and not just across the board. I believe in fairness and asking for what is only fair. When I say deserving, I mean those guest workers who have been here for a long time and whose lives have been built here with their families. These guest workers have U.S. citizen children who are either serving in the U.S. military or require medical assistance. They have been employed with legal status for at least 10 years and who are productive partners in building the economy of CNMI. They are good people with no criminal record.

Understand that I will not even benefit from what I am doing because I am no longer a CW but isn’t it that Martin Luther King once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.” Understand also that I have respect for the local government because I believe that they will do their best to protect the interest of CNMI.

Let’s be realistic. The effect of the temporary status of guest workers brought about the temporary closure of some business establishments which of course had a negative impact on both the investors and the government. And now that the CW cap is already reached, the guest workers who represent a big percentage of CNMI labor pool and also the investors are put in unstable and scary position again

I continue to pray that those long-term guest workers will be given permanent status so they can continue to stay here with their families. I also pray that they will make the CW cap realistic which is based on the actual and foreseeable need of CNMI or better yet, no cap at all. Believe it or not, I also pray that CNMI will be able to train the local people so one day they can fill the need and there will be no need for guest workers. Unfortunately, that day is not today.

Irene Nepomuceno
Puerto Rico

Contributing Author

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