The local division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement needs two more officers in order to have a complete roster.
In a meet-and-greet with the House Federal and Foreign Affairs Committee, ICE representative Patrick McCallion told committee members last Friday that it would be a “logistical nightmare” if the small team of ICE members in the CNMI were to be further reduced.
According to McCallion, who spoke with members of the committee but not with Saipan Tribune, ICE currently has four officers including himself, in the CNMI roster that are looking into cases pertaining to immigration and overstaying illegal aliens in the CNMI.
“When I got here, there was only one deportation officer, and he has been here since 2009,” McCallion told the committee. “Now we have three deportation officers and myself.”
According to McCallion, his division is still short by two officers. “This position is deemed as a hard-to-fill position, so the process of hiring people out here takes a little longer as opposed to somebody in the [U.S. mainland],” he said, adding that his team is looking into cases of overstaying aliens in the CNMI.
While manpower remains an issue for ICE in the CNMI, McCallion told the committee that the main focus would be to secure additional holding cells for overstaying aliens’ removal from the CNMI.
According McCallion, all that remains to acquire more holding cells is funding.
The House committee is led by Rep. Gregorio M. Sablan Jr. (R-Saipan).