Kilili unsure of April deadline to pass S.2325

Working group reviewing testimonies

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan’s (Ind-MP) game plan is to push the U.S. Senate version of his bill for passage to extend the transition period of the CNMI, effectively extending the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker program beyond 2019 as well.

Sablan told Saipan Tribune last week that the game plan is to push U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) S. 2325 through Congress.

This was in response to Saipan Tribune clarifying the legislative hearing date on Sablan’s U.S. House version of the CW extension bill, H.R. 4869, which was introduced the same day as S. 2325.
“The working group is reviewing the testimonies and…the immediate goal as of this time is to get the [U.S.] Senate version of the bill passed and sent to the [U.S.] House for action as soon as possible,” said Sablan, referring to the comments received by a bicameral bipartisan working group led by Murkowski on reviewing the CNMI transitional period extension.

He added that the public may still comment on the bill.

“…If it was my choice, this bill needs to get out and become law on April 1, 2018, but that’s a little bit asking for too much, I think, but that’s the idea. I don’t know if we can make that happen,” he said.

He added that since U.S. President Donald J. Trump took office in 2017, it has been tough to get immigration bills though.

In a Jan. 9, 2018, letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, Sablan requested that the CW cap for fiscal year 2019, which the upcoming renewal period starts on April 1, 2018, be rescinded.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced in November 2017 that the CW cap for fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020 is at 4,999 and 2,999 respectively.

Sablan requested that, instead of a reducing the fiscal year 2018 CW cap of 12,998 to 4,999 for fiscal year 2019, Sablan suggested that the department set the CW cap for fiscal year 2019 at 12,997 and 12,996 for fiscal year 2020.

Sablan pointed out in his letter that the reprieve from the reductions would give “U.S. Congress time for thorough consideration of replacement legislation.”

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres also asked for a reprieve but with no specific numbers.

The U.S. Senate legislative hearing for S. 2325 started last Feb. 6, 2018, with Torres, Sablan, Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), and members of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp. as well as several of Torres’ Cabinet members attending.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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