The House of Representatives adopted Wednesday House Joint Resolution 20-13 that would support the combined efforts of the CNMI government and the private sector to assist over 2,000 foreign workers who are either under the humanitarian parole program or hold an employment authorization document.
H.J.R. 20-13 seeks to extend the 240-day rule under 8 C.F.R. 274a.12(b)(20) “so that affected individuals may be authorized to continue their employment under the previous EADs pending the adjudication and approval of their renewed EADs.”
The workers—who are from Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea—will have expiring papers at the end of the year and they will have to stop working starting on Jan. 1, 2019, while the renewal of their documents are being processed. Some of the workers either have minor U.S. citizen children or were given transitional conditional permits (umbrella permits).
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres wrote Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week regarding the issue in connection with the meeting that took place on Sept. 23 with foreign workers at the Marianas Business Plaza.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), who is now the vice chairman of the House Federal and Foreign Affairs Committee that he previously headed, introduced H.J.R. 20-13. It is now headed to the Senate where they are expected to discuss it at their session on Oct. 23.
Demapan said the H.J.R. shows the unified front of the Legislature. “It’s a resolution adopted by both the House and Senate as compared to just a House resolution or just a Senate resolution. By way of a joint resolution, it becomes a unified position of our Legislature.”
Many foreign workers who have U.S. citizen children kept their immigration status legal after being granted humanitarian parole following the enactment of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 or Public Law 110-229. Foreign workers managed to get jobs through their EADs.
However, the processing period for both the humanitarian parole and EADs became a concern over the years as it disrupted the employment of these workers. Their humanitarian parole expires on Dec. 31, 2018, along with it are their EADs. They can only re-apply for EADs once their humanitarian parole renewal is approved.
Demapan said the work stoppage while their documents are being processed would affect the livelihood of the over 2,000 workers, which approximately represents 10 percent of the CNMI workforce.
MD: House adopts joint resolution to help EAD workers.
KW: House Joint Resolution, resolution, EAD, humanitarian parole, USCIS, Angel Demapan, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, immigration.