Governor: Pay workers

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres is asking Imperial Pacific’s contractors to pay the workers the wages owed to them.

In a statement on Tuesday, he said he has been kept fully abreast of the protest actions staged by the workers.

“This issue highlights a concern. I’ve continually made public statements about the hiring of foreign workers who enter the CNMI as tourists since the details of these illegal practices were brought to light about a month ago,” Torres said.

Gold Mantis construction workers stage a protest at the Garapan basketball court on Tuesday morning. Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

He said he has met with Imperial Pacific, airline industry representatives and other stakeholders to tell them that “this practice is not permitted and is to the detriment of the CNMI economy.”

Torres said because the CNMI has no full jurisdiction to curtail this illegal practice among certain employers, he has reached out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to begin the process outlined under the Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that will allow the CNMI to enter into an agreement with the U.S. attorney general to grant CNMI Labor officers authority to perform certain actions of federal immigration officers.

“If granted, the CNMI can take proactive steps to ensure that employees working in the CNMI are legally authorized to work on our islands and if they are not, exact penalties and deport the offenders,” the governor said.

He said he will continue to work with the Legislature and the federal government to penalize those who threaten to harm the community’s progress.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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