Governor will ask USCIS to reconsider nonrenewal of nurses

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres will ask U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to reconsider its decision not to renew the CW-1 permits of the islands’ nonresident nurses.

In an interview on Tuesday, he said  USCIS should be aware that nurses are critical to the delivery of healthcare services in the CNMI.

“This is a USCIS matter, but I will emphasize how important our nurses are and how the lack of nurses will affect our people’s lives,” he added.

For fiscal year 2019, USCIS  reduced the CW cap from 9,999 to 4,999 and said it would conduct a lottery to determine which CW-1 permits would be approved.

Press Secretary Kevin Bautista in a statement on Tuesday said:

“It’s very unfortunate and disappointing that no nurses were approved. Governor Torres has worked tirelessly with Sen. Lisa Murkowski to ensure that we have legislation in place that acknowledges long-term workers and vital occupations such as nursing while protecting U.S. workers. The product of that work, S. 2325, would provide protection for nurses and critical positions in the CNMI. We’ve done a lot through the Senate and are thankful we were able to pass the bill through unanimous consent. Now we await U.S. House of Representatives action to approve S. 2325. The hospital and our people need immediate attention and action on this important issue from Washington, D.C.”

Rep. Joe Itibus, chairman of the House Committee on Health and Welfare, said he was shocked to find out that no CW permits for nurses were approved. He is hoping for the quick enactment of S.2325 so  nurses and other critical employees are protected and prioritized.

S.2325 proposes, among other things, to increase the CW cap to 13,000, which is two more than the FY 2017 level, and extend the federal program for 10 years after Dec. 2019. The bill will also gradually reduce the CW cap each year.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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