Marianas Variety

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    Monday, July 16, 2018-4:43:16A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Editorials 2018-May-18

He cares

IT seems that on Capital Hill, Rep. Ed Propst alone cares for the people of Tinian and Rota, and the judicial employees.

Who else wants to ensure that the MOU for Docomo’s fiber-optic cable for the two islands is valid and cannot be challenged in court? Have you heard of any other elected official wondering out loud if $7 million is a reasonable amount for mold remediation and a new A/C system?

As we’ve stated before, the $7 million that will be given to the judiciary for its failure to maintain its building is $7 million that will not go to medical referrals, land compensation, road projects, the government’s utility bills, among many other more urgent items that will benefit everyone else, including the people of Rota and Tinian and the judiciary employees themselves.

Representative Propst raised valid concerns that should be addressed by the administration and other lawmakers.

Harebrained

A LOTTERY was the “easiest and fastest way” to resolve the problem that USCIS created for the CNMI?

Of course not. USCIS, first of all, should have granted the CW petitions of healthcare and caregiving personnel for obvious reasons. It is astonishing that we have to point this out to an agency of the world’s most powerful government whose bureaucracy is supposedly staffed with qualified and experienced professionals. Not even a tour guide who wants to hire nonresident workers would say that the islands’ only hospital should have no nurses, or that children with special needs or bedridden senior citizens should not have caregivers.

USCIS is playing dice with the local economy and the lives of actual people who are being harmed by laws and rules drawn up by faraway officials whom CNMI voters did not elect. Apparently the people in the CNMI are just computer numbers to federal bureaucrats who do not have to deal with the consequences of the injurious diktats they impose on these islands.

Can anyone name any other U.S. state, city or town that would have allowed USCIS to raffle off their economy?

USCIS should have listened to CNMI officials and reduced the cap by one only. The FY 2018 cap should have been 12,997 not 9,999; and the FY 2019 cap should now be 12,996 not 4,999. Under federal law, the current CW program ends in Dec. 2019. That is still more than a year away, and USCIS knows that the U.S. Congress is considering legislation to extend the program.

The USCIS reasoning basically is: we’ll inflict harm now because you will be harmed later anyway if Congress doesn’t extend the CW program. But what if it does? And even if it won’t, why inflict harm as soon as possible?

As for a “back-up plan that doesn’t rely on CW workers” —  that’s like asking for a back-up plan in case you fall off a cliff. If you’re still alive, should you whimper or cry out loud?

Many of the jobs currently filled by CWs are the same jobs for which many U.S. employers, who pay much more, are hiring foreigners, legal or illegal. The U.S is facing a nursing/caregiving shortage. Many U.S. hotels, restaurants, construction companies, farms, etc. etc. are hiring foreign workers.

One could be really bad at math and still figure out that companies in a miniscule economy like that of the CNMI cannot possibly compete with U.S. employers for the same workers.

Right now, it seems that the feds’ “plan B” for the NMI is that it simply and quietly return to the Navy/TT days when the islands were tangan-tangan-covered dirt roads, and most of the people were getting free food from the USDA. But hey. The NMI was an “authentic” tropical vacation spot for those who didn’t have to live here.