Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) is hoping to push forward with H.R. 560, after President Donald J. Trump already signed into law its companion bill, H.R. 559, which saved the immigration status of 1,039 workers under the categorical/humanitarian parole program and employment authorization document holders.
H.R. 560 hopes to give workers under the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program, or CW-1 program, permanent resident status in the CNMI.
H.R. 559 is now Public Law 116-24 after being signed into law by Trump last week.
H.R. 560 is a different matter.
“It is our intention to get Congress to also pass that bill to grant Commonwealth-only permanent residency to long-term guest workers and E2C visa holders,” Sablan said of his second legislation.
This early, though, H.R. 560 lacks the support of the Trump administration, according to Sablan. He pointed out that he needs Trump’s support in order for his bill to move forward.
“We will need the [Trump] administration to support that effort. …We did not have that support when we reviewed H.R. 560 early this year. We still do not have that support today. But we continue to work to obtain that support,” he said. “While we may be able to get H.R. 560 to pass the House, getting it through the Senate, without the [Trump] administration’s support will be very difficult.”
Sablan is confident, though, that he could reach a compromise for his bill in the House. “We’ve accomplished difficult work before so we will give it our best effort. There have been many questions raised about eligibility since the enactment of H.R. 559.”
Section 2 (Long-term legal residents of the CNMI) subsection B (Aliens Described), paragraph v (in addition), subparagraphs I to VI states those who are qualified for CNMI-Only permanent residency status are those who are: (I) was born in the Northern Mariana Islands between Jan. 1, 1974, and Jan. 9, 1978; (II) was, on Nov. 27, 2009, a permanent resident of the Commonwealth (as defined in section 4303 of title 3 of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Code, in effect on May 8, 2008); (III) is the spouse or child (as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1))) of an alien described in subclause (I) or (II); (IV) was, on November 27, 2011, a spouse, child, or parent of a United States citizen, notwithstanding the age of the United States citizen, and continues to have such family relationship with the citizen on the date of the application described in subparagraph (A); (V) had a grant of parole under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) on Dec. 31, 2018, under the former parole program for certain in-home caregivers administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; “(VI) was admitted to the Commonwealth as a Commonwealth-Only Transitional Worker during fiscal year 2015, and during every subsequent fiscal year beginning before the date of the enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–218); (VII) resided in the Northern Mariana Islands as an investor under Commonwealth immigration law, and is presently resident under E–2 CNMI Investor Status (E2C).”