25 Jan 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres will continue to ask for a reprieve for the 3,000 displaced guests workers whose CW-1 permit renewals were affected by the cap imposed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Press Secretary Kevin Bautista, in an interview on Wednesday, said the governor’s dialogue with the White House regarding this issue is ongoing.
“The issue is also about families that are being torn apart,” Bautista added.
“Since the governor’s meeting in Hawaii with President Trump, there have been continued discussions with the president’s chief of staff. The governor has also been sending letters to the White House to get something done and to address the situation of our workers here,” Bautista said.
The governor is in Japan for an official trip but will be back on Friday. He will leave the island again next week to attend a U.S. Senate hearing on the CW bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowsi and U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.
“The governor will be at the hearing to talk about the CW bill,” Bautista said. “The governor was part of the process for several months and provided recommendations on some of the provisions of the bill. The bill reaffirms the commitment and collaboration between the governor’s office and the senator’s office.”
For his part, Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corporation president and spokesman Alex Sablan said 23 members of the local business community will travel to Washington, D.C. early next month to express support for the bill and for the efforts of the governor and Congressman Kilili to find a long-term solution to the islands’ workforce crisis.
“We are going to support the governor and the delegate,” Alex Sablan said. “They will be on the panel to discuss the bill that Senator Murkowski just introduced [in the U.S. Senate]. We are happy with the bill. It’s not everything that everybody wanted, but it is a cross-section of what we needed as we proceed with the transition. We are very pleased with the bill. Our economy is improving, allowing us to hire more U.S. workers, and we want to keep the momentum going. We believe if the momentum is continued, salaries will further rise and we will attract more U.S. workers including locals who now work and reside in the states. Things are improving. The proposed 10-year extension of the CW program will maintain the momentum. We are thankful to Senator Murkowki, to the governor and Delegate Sablan for their efforts in drafting this legislation.”
Sablan said their group also supports Senate Vice President Steve Mesngon’s request to USCIS to extend humanitarian parole to the 3,000 CWs affected by the cap.
“The cap impacts the community and will result in the loss of many legacy employees. The governor has asked for a reprieve as has Delegate Sablan, and we are hopeful that we will get something.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101764-governor-to-seek-reprieve-for-displaced-cws