Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) has expressed concerns over some of the immigration policies of the administration of President Donald J. Trump, especially since there’s still no update on the humanitarian parole program and employment authorization document issued to recipients of the program.
There are over 2,000 workers in the CNMI either under the humanitarian parole program or with employment authorization documents whose papers are expiring on Dec. 31, 2018, and they are required to stop working by Jan. 1, 2019, while the renewal of their documents are being processed.
Sablan said any announcement about the program’s extension is usually made by Thanksgiving Day, ever since the administration of former President Barack Obama first granted humanitarian parole.
The humanitarian parole is for spouses of U.S. and Freely Associated States citizens, caregivers for the CNMI’s elderly or man’amko and for the disabled, for CNMI permanent residents, and stateless individuals.
Stateless individuals are those who were born in the Marianas prior to 1978 to non-Trust Territory citizens parents.
Sablan said there are only a few days left before the program expires and there’s no update yet if it would be extended by Trump.
“Here we are, [four] days before the end of the program, and the anti-immigrant Trump administration has not announced its decision on whether to extend or to discontinue humanitarian parole for the Northern Marianas,” said Sablan on his Facebook post that he also sent to Saipan Tribune by email.
Sablan said news stories or commentaries published by media firms like Politico, a political journalism company that covers U.S. politics and policy, have been unsettling to the CNMI community, which rely on workers under these programs.
“News articles such as this makes me anxious about the fate of those who are here under humanitarian parole. These are our neighbors, some are our families, some have been here since before we became a Commonwealth [over 40 years]. And none of whom are criminals, hence they would have already been deported to their home country,” he said.
“I hope and pray I am wrong. But, sadly, I am no longer hopeful that the Trump administration will extend the humanitarian parole program for the Northern Marianas—a program I had the Obama administration approve almost a decade ago.”
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres had already sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen regarding the issue, which was brought up by CNMI foreign workers who are either under humanitarian parole status or EAD.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) earlier introduced House Joint Resolution 20-13 to support the administration’s letter, where it seeks to extend the 240-day rule to the more than 2,000 foreign workers that are under the humanitarian parole program or are EAD holders.