‘8K new CW permits immediately available’

Kilili allays fears DHS may delay enactment

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (MP-Ind) yesterday allayed fears that if the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018, popularly known as CW bill, would become a law that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary may delay the effective date of the law.

Sablan said once President Donald J. Trump signs the bill into law, the Northern Marianas’ congressional office will be working with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to assure that the 8,001 new CW permits created by the U.S. Workforce Act for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2018 are immediately available—as the law stipulates.

Sablan made such assurance in response to Saipan Tribune’s request for comments about lawyer Janet H. King’s sharing good and bad news about passage of CW bill.

The U.S. Senate recently unanimously passed the bill that effectively extends the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program for another 10 years. The legislation is now before Trump’s desk for enactment.

King, a known immigration lawyer, said the good news is obvious: the number of CW1 permits in fiscal year 2019—the coming fiscal year—would now be up to, but not exceed 13,000.

King said the DHS secretary must publish in the Federal Register an interim final rule on how to implement a system for allocating and determining terms and conditions of the CW1 permits.

King said the bad news is, the DHS secretary has up to 180 days after the law is enacted to do this, and the secretary may delay the effective date of the law until the effective date of the interim final rule.

In response to King’s concerns, Sablan said during the final drafting of the U.S. Workforce Act, they solicited and received technical drafting assistance from DHS, including USCIS.

“So they are well informed about the legislative language of the bill,” Sablan said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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