GMA News Online
Pinoy Abroad

Group wants US citizenship for Pinoys married to CNMI residents

June 11, 2008 3:52pm
SAIPAN - A coalition was formed in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to press for the granting of US citizenship to some 200 Filipinos and other foreign workers in the CNMI who are married to the local residents of the Marianas.

The Coalition for the Recognition and Advancement of American Minorities in the CNMI aims to be “recognized, represented, equally treated, consulted, and have voice in the affairs of the government and the community."

According to the group, many Filipinos and other foreigners can’t be granted citizenship because their spouses — who are local residents of the CNMI and are US citizens — are not making the necessary steps to allow their foreign wives or husbands to also become citizens.

When the couples divorce, foreign spouses lose their IR or immediate relative status, as well as their right to remain in the CNMI, even if they have children with US citizens.

The coalition is also pushing for the following agenda:
  • Grant US citizenship to about 10 children born during Trust Territory government in 1973-1974 who were not granted US citizenship just like the former “stateless children."

  • Improve the status for guest workers who are 20 years old and above, with or without children, who have spent half of their lifetime in the CNMI, and

  • Support from the community and the local and federal governments in granting improved immigration status for CNMI permanent residents who are losing their residency due to the federalization of local immigration. - Haidee Eugenio, GMANews.TV