01 Apr 2016
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
THE House of Representatives passed a measure on Thursday that will fund the non-immigrant worker registration and work identification operations of the CNMI Department of Labor by requiring guest workers to get an ID for $50.
House Bill 19-146 introduced by Minority Leader Ramon A. Tebuteb was passed unanimously by all 19 members present.
Tebuteb originally proposed a $25 fee but Rep. Antonio Sablan raised it to $50.
The bill now goes to the Senate for action.
According to the bill, in order for non-immigrant workers to be able to work in the CNMI legally, they must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After their permits are approved by USCIS, the bill said responsibility falls upon the CNMI Department of Labor to “regulate issues” for non-immigrant workers.
In order for DOL to perform this task, the bill said funds and resources must be made readily available. The funds collected are to be used by the Department of Labor “to enforce rules and regulations pertaining to non-immigrant workers.”
The goal of the bill is to require all foreign workers to have a valid ID card present at all times. Under the bill, they must register with DOL and pay $50.
In March 2010, human rights advocate and former Rota educator Wendy Doromal criticized CNMI Public Law 17-1 for its provision that required foreigners to register with DOL.
She said it was a blatant attempt by the CNMI government to maintain control over “the disenfranchised underclass.”
“They want to continue to fill their coffers on the backs of the foreign contract workers, their families and other foreign nationals,” she said referring to the CNMI government.
She noted that since Nov. 28, 2009, the federal government has had authority over CNMI immigration and the foreign national workforce, not the commonwealth government or its Department of Labor.
She said there was no other local or state government in the U.S. that required foreign nationals to have an identification card, adding that those powers fall under federal law.
The House on Thursday also passed the following: H.B. 19-128 to permit persons under the age of 21 to transit through casino gaming facilities; H.B. 19-118, to remove term limits for members of the Board of Professional Licensing who currently can only serve for two consecutive six-year terms; H.B. 19-80, to establish rules for the creation, removal and operation of special parking zones and parking meter zones; and H.B. 19-117, to restrict the use of wireless telephones while driving vehicles.