‘I just want to see my children grow’


A contract worker fears the drastic cut made to the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program will greatly impact the lives of his children more than his own.

It is no shock that immigrant workers are upset about the inevitable possibility of losing their jobs after news that drastic slot cuts were made on the CW-1 visa program but what about the children of these immigrant workers?

Most of these workers under the CW-1 visa program have lived in the CNMI for years, like contract worker Joel Prinze Salvosa.

Salvosa, who works for the I Love Saipan store in Garapan, has been living on Saipan for over 20 years now, almost half his life and, according to him, the island has now become his home and is also home to his three children: Chloe, 18; Kyle, 16; and Tashyanna, 14.

“I am a single parent so I am the only one providing for my kids… like the basic necessities…I don’t know what would happen to them if I leave,” said Salvosa.

All of Salvosa’s children were born on Saipan and have spent their entire lives on the island, with occasional vacation trips to the Philippines.

In a worst-case scenario, if Salvosa is denied a CW-1 visa after it expires on Dec. 31, 2017, he will have to uproot his entire family and start from scratch in the Philippines.

“That’s not easy,” he said, pointing out that his children know the Philippines as a place where they go to for a vacation but not their home.

Salvosa is not only worried financially. He also fears how such a change would impact his three children’s lives once they are abruptly taken away from their home and put in a whole new environment.

Salvosa is aware that CW-1 laws are not controlled by the local government but by the federal government, which he believes most likely do not know that immigrant workers and their children make up a huge chunk of the local community.

“These [federal decision-makers] have never lived on Saipan. They don’t understand how these drastic cuts would affect the kids…I think they should do further research before they make such drastic cuts,” he said.

All Salvosa is asking for is alternative option in consideration of immigrant workers with children in the Marianas.

“This is my home now. There is no reason for me to go to the U.S. mainland or anywhere else because life is simpler and safer here…all I am asking is an alternative. It doesn’t have to be U.S. citizenship,” he said.

According to Salvosa, all the alternative choices that were suggested to him and many other contract workers in a similar position are either uncertain, too costly for the company, or both.

Salvosa is pleading for more alternative solutions because he wants to be able to continue to provide for his children and continue to ensure that they succeed because they are offered so much more on Saipan.

“My children are my life so my life is here…I just want to see them grow, I just want to see them succeed,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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