Groups to hold free immigration forum, legal clinic

In an effort to assist and help the many Filipinos and other contract workers in the CNMI who have immigration-related issues, the National Federation of Filipino American Association, in collaboration with the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance Marianas Chapter, will be providing free immigration forum through an immigration lawyer from New York, says Dr. Celia Lamkin, NaFFAA Region 12 chair and Board of Governor and chairperson of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance Marianas chapter.
 
Atty. Jose Teodoro “JT” S. Mallonga, an immigration lawyer for 25 years in New York, was the past president of the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund and an active member of the legal team of FALDEF providing pro-bono legal services for Filipinos in the USA. He has been helping thousands of Filipinos with different immigration cases in many cities and states in the mainland.
 
Mallonga is the NaFFAA National chairperson and he will be arriving on Saturday to meet the different groups of Filipinos who have immigration and labor issues.
 
“I have heard of so many problems of contract workers in the CNMI especially the case of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino workers who are mostly our kababayans (fellow Filipinos). Some have left the island and more will be leaving the island. Other cases are those who are affected by the CW1 cap, among other issues,” said Lamkin.
 
“Despite my unpredictable heart condition, I just can’t be ignoring the situation or won’t do anything to help the contract workers in the CNMI especially the Filipinos, and seeing them helpless and their families being separated from their children who were born here and those children they have brought with them from their country of origin when they first came to legally work in the CNMI and those who have no U.S. citizen children,” she said.
 
“It is also hurting and disheartening to know that those who have legally worked here for five years or more and some, more than 30 years, have left and some were displaced because their CWs were not renewed, or they were affected by the CW1 cap deadline.
 
It’s easy for other people to tell them, here’s the ticket, you may go home. Let us show love, mercy and compassion to our fellowmen,” she added.
 
In November 2011, Lamkin was the one who helped the more than 15,000 Filipinos and other contract workers in the CNMI when they were panicking for fear of deportation due to the ending of the transition period that time. She facilitated and provided the free immigration forums through the help and legal assistance of Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis, an immigration lawyer, a former attorney general of then Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS), now USCIS, and the National chairperson of the USP4GG, and Atty. Ted Laguatan, an immigration lawyer and the USP4GG legal counsel and spokesperson, which resulted in the prevention of their departure from the CNMI.
 
Mallonga, an expert-specialist in immigration law, said that he will be studying and providing solutions to the many cases of immigration cases in the CNMI. He will personally visit the affected workers of Tinian Dynasty Hotel next week.
 
The immigration forum will be held at the San Antonio Parish Social Hall on Sunday, July 10 2016, from 2pm to 6pm. The forum will provide valuable information to the foreign workers in the CNMI.
 
A free legal clinic will be held on Thursday, July 14, from 10am to 12noon and from 2pm to 4 pm at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-purpose Center in Susupe, Saipan.
 
Another immigration forum will be held after the legal clinic, from 6pm to 8pm.
 
Children, spouses, and immediate relatives of Filipino World War II veterans are also encouraged to attend.
 
Admission to the forum is free on a first-come, first-serve basis, regardless of race, religion, nationality, and disability.
 
The public is advised not to pay any amount to anybody with regard to this immigration forum and activities that will be conducted by NaFFAA and USP4GG Marianas chapter because the said activities and legal assistance are free and we have not authorized anybody to collect such fees to the participants or those who will need legal assistance.
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