Moment of truth


I began writing about CNMI guest workers in 2007. The following year, I became more active even leading United Workers Movement, an organization devoted to fighting for guest workers’ rights in the CNMI and to helping workers get an improved status. Almost 10 years later, the status of the guest workers is still uncertain. The U.S. federal government has done nothing to help the thousands of legal and long staying workers, not even to adjust the CW cap considering that CNMI now has big investors like Best Sunshine. The effect of the unstable status of the guest workers is not only felt by the guest workers themselves but more so by the business establishments. What do you think the effect of this is to the overall economy of the CNMI? I hear people say it is now considered a crisis. The business sector is panicking and investors “cannot sleep” because of the unsecured supply of labor. At this point, I really don’t care what other people say. The truth is that CNMI needs guest workers. It is still true until today and it will be the case for years to come.

Our story does not change from way back to today. We do not need a temporary solution. We need a permanent solution. We need a permanent status or residency for all the qualified guest workers to be able to sustain the economic growth.

Personally, I believe that more than the issue of labor is the humanitarian side of this. How about the separation of families, the impact on the livelihood of families, etc.?

To the guest workers, business people and government are already talking about the issue of CW cap shortage. I believe that this is the opportune time to ask again the federal government to give you a permanent status so you don’t have to worry on whether you will still have a job the next time you renew your CW visa. These islands need you to make its economy work. You deserve a better deal.

Irene Nepomuceno
Puerto Rico

Irene Nepomuceno

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