Mayors all over the Marianas unanimously adopted a resolution that requested U.S Congress to consider exempting the Marianas from guest worker cuts because of the struggles that the Marianas would face if these workers were completely wiped out of the islands.
During the 24th general assembly of the Association of Mariana Islands Mayors in Guam last Nov. 30, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang proposed a resolution requesting the governors and delegates of the Commonwealth and Guam to seek legislation from U.S Congress to authorize the islands to set the numerical limit on guest workers based on their respective economic developments and activities.
According to Apatang, the islands cannot afford to lose its contract workers because the islands greatly depend on this workforce.
“A lot of them have been here for a long time and we pretty much depend on them,” said Apatang.
He said that without the contract workers, the islands would lack the workforce to provide the services that garners tourists and would cause island development to plummet.
“We cannot afford to lose our CW employees here…we just don’t have the workforce to support the hotel industry, the construction [industry] especially skilled workers,” he said.
Apatang said he proposed this resolution because there are a lot of investors interested in investing in the Commonwealth and without contract workers, there would be no one to carry out those development plans.
“We have a lot of new investors coming in, hotels are going up; we need our skilled workers…these nonresidents basically built the Marianas and we cannot afford for them to leave us at this time,” he said.
The resolution was adopted unanimously on Nov. 30 and is currently on its way to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres of the Commonwealth, Gov. Edward Calvo of Guam, Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), and CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
In the adopted resolution, AMIM encourages Calvo and Torres to continue efforts aimed toward resolving the current guest worker visas that unequivocally would result in the immediate disastrous impact to the economies of the respective islands should the same guest worker visa programs currently applied in the continental United States be applied to the Marianas.
The AMIM also encouraged Bordallo and Sablan to continue supporting their respective islands and its efforts by seeking federal legislation exempting the islands from the application of the guest worker visa program currently being implemented in the continental U.S. and to authorize the islands to use their respective economies as basis for setting the numerical limit on guest workers.