Torres: ‘We are ready to present our case to the US Senate’

GOVERNOR Ralph Torres said he and his team are ready to present their case when they appear in the US Senate on February 6 to speak about the CW issues in the Marianas.

The governor is leaving for Washington DC this weekend to attend the hearing on S. 2325 introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

He will be accompanied by Secretary Vicky Benavente of the CNMI Department of Labor and some members of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corporation.

In an interview with the governor, he said they have data now to present justifying the need to extend the CW program and to increase the cap to 13,000.

“Yes, we are prepared, but to clarify, we were also prepared the last time we went there to speak about the CW crisis,” said Torres.

“We still need to work on our workforce but the most important things are the changes that have occurred over the past few years. There are a lot of good things that happened in our CW program, a lot of our foreign workers who have been on island for more than a decade are now receiving good pay. But some of them have to leave the island because of this CW issue and that’s the reason we will be there in Washington DC to present our case,” the governor said.

Torres said he thanked Murkowski for listening to the CNMI’s concerns and for addressing some of those concerns in the bill.

The governor said he will continue to work for a reversal on the 3,000 reduction.

“We are still hopeful on that and we will continue to work to get that 3,000 reduction reversed,” Torres said.

Meanwhile, Representative Angel Demapan on Friday introduced a House Joint Resolution to support the passage of S.2325, the Northern Marianas Islands US Work Force Act introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Demapan’s resolution is House Joint Resolution 20-8.

The House is set to act on it on Wednesday during a session.

The resolution states that the members of the US Congress requested the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the implementation and impact of federal immigration laws in the CNMI with a focus on the potential economic impact if any due to the complete reduction of CW-1 workers and the federal and CNMI government’s efforts to address the CNMI’s labor force challenges.

The CNMI House of Representatives is in support of the intent of the S.2325 and is asking the US Congress and the US Senate for the passage of this bill.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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