IN ENDING THE CW PROGRAM
‘Irreversible damage likely’
Tag: business, CNMI, CW, House Joint Resolution
A joint resolution introduced in a House of Representatives session yesterday is seeking public support for “legislative relief” on Public Law 110-229, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan) introduced yesterday House Joint Resolution 20-07, which supports the CNMI government and private sector efforts in seeking “legislative relief through amendments to U.S. Public Law 110-229.” According to the resolution, it supports the efforts amend the law in order to continue the CNMI economy’s growth.
P.L. 110-229, a law enacted during the tenure of former U.S. president George W. Bush, extended federal immigration to the CNMI, took over local immigration, created the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program for the CNMI’s foreign workers, and set a sunset provision—a deadline for the CW program to expire.
According to P.L. 110-229, the CW program was supposed to expire in 2014 but this was extended to 2019.
In yesterday’s H.J.R. 20-07, it cited a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, which said that if the CW-1 program is eliminated, the CNMI economy will be affected “26 to 62 percent, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue.”
“GAO also concluded that ending the CW-1 program would negatively affect CNMI businesses, resulting in the loss of services and employment to CNMI residents,” H.J.R. 20-07 said.
“The effects of ending the CW program will more than likely cause irreversible damage to the CNMI economy, impacting the livelihood of every man, woman, and child,” it added.
According to Demapan, H.J.R. 20-07 is the CNMI Legislature’s “effort to unify support with our business community.”
“We have come such a long way in our economic recovery and I would hate to see all the efforts and successes of the CNMI disappear as a result of a flawed federal law,” he told Saipan Tribune.
“Residents and nonresidents alike are concerned about the future of their employment in the event that businesses have to make sacrifices, be it reduction in services or completely closing their doors.”
Demapan said that, while the CNMI is calling out for change, one thing remains constant: “P.L. 110-229 is needed and has been needed since our business and government officials were pleading for help in Washington years ago,” he said.
According to Demapan, the House would act on H.J.R. 20-07 at their next session before heading to the Senate for concurrence.