WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU) issued the following statement on Thursday in response to Gov. Eddie Calvo’s remarks at the Rotary Club of Guam indicating that his administration is no longer supporting the military buildup.
“I share Governor Calvo’s frustrations over the strains the denial of H-2B worker has had on our community, but his reversal to no longer support the buildup is abrupt and may not immediately solve these challenges. I agree that Republicans and the Trump administration have not demonstrated any willingness or initiative to address the unique challenges of our island. Since the beginning of last year, I have been working diligently with [the Department of Defense] to stress to [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] the importance of the H-2B program to having an adequate workforce [in] Guam, and we are working to provide legislative relief in this year’s defense bill. We successfully included this legislation in last year’s bill but it was stripped out by the Republican-led Senate. While the Trump administration lacks a clear domestic strategy, I have been and continue to work on a broader permanent solution that will address Guam’s unique workforce challenges.
“I continue to believe that the buildup will be good for Guam and provide us with opportunities to expand and grow our community—through additional job creation as well new specialized industries in areas like telecommunications and cyber security. It’s also critical for the continued security of our region, especially in light of growing threats from North Korea. We have invested heavily in supporting this buildup and while there have been challenges along the way, we continue to make progress to ensure that it is good for Guam and our people. Turning back now may jeopardize this progress, which includes significant civilian infrastructure investments and will settle outstanding land use challenges, such as the net-negative commitment [that] reduces the military footprint on our island.
“I hope Governor Calvo is sincere when he says that he wants the buildup to happen, but that the H-2B challenges have forced his hand. I will continue to work with him and our stakeholders to push for an H-2B solution as well as advocate for a military buildup that addresses our community’s concerns and provides opportunities that are good for our people. We have had and will continue to have our challenges, but by working together, we will overcome them.” (PR)