Federalization in N Marianas shatters Filipino families’ dreams
HAIDEE V. EUGENIO, GMANews.TV
03/10/2009 | 10:40 AM
SUSUPE, Saipan – All that Jenica G. Atalig, 13, and Beda G. Mundo, 12, want is for their Filipina mother, Camila, to be granted US citizenship when the federal government takes over the immigration system of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) by June 1.
Their mother’s immigration status is that of an immediate relative (IR) of a US citizen under CNMI law.
But because US immigration laws do not recognize the CNMI’s IR status, thousands of these individuals will lose their immigration status by June 1 and may be forced to depart the CNMI unless the US government grants them a status that will allow them to continue to work and live in the CNMI.
Their mother, who worked at a hotel for some seven years until she was laid off due to economic hardships, is married to a US citizen. The couple’s children are US citizens for being born in the CNMI, a US territory whose capital Saipan is only about three hours away from Manila on a direct flight.
Jenica and Beda’s mother could apply for a green card or permanent residency, but the fees rack up to thousands of dollars, which the family cannot afford at this time.
“Fees for applying for green card are unaffordable. We strongly favor an enhanced status for aliens living here and have US-born children. Let this concern of ours be heard,” Janice and Beda said in a statement.