When I was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia the last week, a friend who is working at the casino there told me that it was a blessing in disguise that she did not apply for a job at Best Sunshine. She continued by saying that her friends who got hired last year are already going back in the Philippines. She doesn’t really know the reason but she said she was told it has something to do with visa. She swore that she will not consider applying for a job in Saipan because she doesn’t want to be like her friends who soon will be unemployed. Imagine how this situation creates negative impression in the CNMI. Do we think that workers would consider coming here if they have another choice?
Until recently, it was not really clear to me what was going to happen to the CW workers whose visa are expiring after the cap was already reached. The good news is that I found out that they can apply again next calendar year but the bad news is that for now until then, these workers will need to leave the CNMI. Even if it is temporary, the most painful effect of this is the separation of families.
I understand that it will take the Congress of the United States to change the law and most likely a willing President to alleviate the situation, but I continue to ask why they are allowing this crisis to happen especially to families. Surely they can do something. Is there a lesson that needs to be learned and we are just not seeing it? Or they simply don’t care.
While it is easy for others who are not affected by this issue to think that we are not in a hopeless situation and that there is a solution, I ask them to see it from the eyes of these workers who will suffer the pain because their lives are already built here and whose children will be left behind when they leave.