Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 23 Feb 2018 12am







    Thursday, February 22, 2018-3:40:44A.M.






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Kilili: NMI still needs CW program

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.

U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, second left, speaks with the CNMI’s first Washington representative, Edward Pangelinan, right, as former Gov. Juan N. Babauta, center, KSPN’s Bob Coldeen left, and former Rep. Tina Sablan, right, look on in the congressman’s district office in Susupe, Tuesday.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

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.”