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Fil-Am lawyer hits Northern Marianas governor over deportation

/ 05:35 PM November 08, 2011

LOS ANGELES— A Californian-based immigration expert has criticized Northern Marianas Benigno R. Fitial over the impending deportation of jobless non-resident migrants.

Teodoro “Ted” Laguatan, spokesman of U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance, said that while immigration laws are being observed in the United States, it is not the case in Northern Marianas, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific Ocean.

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“In his world, when one loses his job — these constitutional rights should not apply,” Laguatan, who writes the column “No Limitation” on INQUIRER.net, said of Fitial’s decision to deport jobless nonresidents after November 27.

“Every day, hundreds of people appear in US immigration courts who have violated immigration laws because they overstayed, worked illegally, violated some technicality or committed some crime. The US Constitution guarantees  them the right to a hearing, the right to counsel and the right to present defenses and various kinds of applications for reliefs provided for by statutes and case law,” said Laguatan.

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But in the Northern Marianas, Laguatan said the governor apparently does not respect the rights of nonresidents.

He said nonresidents  who have contributed to the culture and economy of the Northern Mariana Islands for many years have these same constitutional rights because these islands are a part of the United States.

“Many of them have US citizen children,” said Laguatan, a Filipino-American lawyer who has been practicing immigration law for over 20 years.

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TAGS: Immigration, Migration, Northern Marianas, U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance
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