Kilili Introduces Immigration Bill In US Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) introduced immigration legislation Thursday at the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., which he says reflects the goals of CNMI Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ immigration policy proposals introduced during 902 consultations last month.

“That’s the intention of introducing this bill now. It’s to mirror the governor’s 902 consultation proposal and support and show there is an agreement from Commonwealth officials on this policy,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune.

Sablan clarifies he dropped the bill at Congress, a form of introducing the bill. “You drop the bill and the Parliamentarian takes it and assigns it to a committee and then it’s referred to Committee on Judiciary because it has to do with immigration.”

H.R. 5888 calls for amending section 6 of “A Joint Resolution to approve the Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, and for other purposes.”

The bill includes a request to extend the federally mandated immigration phase out deadline from 2019 to 2029. The legislation does increase the cap to 18,000 contract workers from the current numerical limit of 12,999. On May 20, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced they reached the CW-1 cap through petitions received up until May 5, 2016. H.R. 5888 also calls for foreign workers to be paid the prevailing wage, a little higher than the minimum wage in the CNMI.

By Jillian L. Angeline for Saipan Tribune
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