15 Nov 2017
- By Emmanuel T. Erediano – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said there is a need to extend the federal CW program which will end in Dec. 2019.
A new visa category for qualified, long-term workers is also possible, he added.
“I know there are a lot of anxieties, and people need to plan ahead, but unfortunately Congress often waits until the last minute to take action,” Kilili told reporters on Tuesday. “And we have a new administration [in Washington, D.C.] that is very negative when it comes to foreign workers. But I can tell you that I feel very confident we will be able to get legislation enacted.”
He said it is just a matter of how to “tailor” the measure which, he added, is supported by the governor and his 902 team.
“We have to find a way to allow law-abiding foreign workers who have been here in the Marianas since the [federalization] transition began to get some kind of longer-term status,” Kilili said.
In 2012, he introduced legislation to extend CNMI permanent residency to qualified, long-term guest workers, but the then-Fitial administration blocked it.
Kilili believes that allowing qualified, long-term guest workers to continue their employment here under a separate category will help keep the CNMI economy going.
“I still think it is important to give long-term workers a long-term status — I think it is only fair for those who have worked here for so long,” he added.
He said two Marianas-specific bills he introduced have been enacted, including an immigration measure when no other immigration measure could pass the U.S. Congress.
“I also feel confident because I am working on developing legislation with the same members of [the U.S.] Congress with whom I’ve worked successfully before. They know Marianas issues, they know me, [and] we have developed a level of understanding and have built trust over the years.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/100108-kilili-nmi-still-needs-cw-program