A Rota senator who previously urged U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve all humanitarian parole requests of CW workers and their families said the agency has yet to get back on his request.
In a letter to Guam USCIS field office director Rebecca F. Maliuwelur dated Jan. 23, 2018, Sen. Steve K. Mesngon (R-Rota) requested that she approve all humanitarian parole requests of CW-1 workers submitted to her office.
“They never responded yet. Hopefully they’ll respond soon,” he said when asked about it.
According to the senator, the letter was sent through mail, and he is sure the letter should be there already. He added that his office attempted to obtain an email address to contact USCIS but was unsuccessful.
“I am hoping they have a reply soon. I am really in support of trying to help our CW [workers that got displaced],” said Mesngon.
The letter was written on behalf of the CNMI Senate for the 20th Legislature.
An email from a USCIS representative confirmed with Saipan Tribune that they have received the letter; however the agency has a policy that prevents the discussion of “official correspondence between elected officials and our leadership.”
“Congress previously mandated that USCIS end the program by reducing the number of workers to zero by Dec. 31, 2019. The intent of phasing out this foreign worker program is to encourage the territory’s transition into the U.S. immigration system, as well as to bolster recruitment of U.S. workers in the CNMI,” said the USCIS representative.
In a previous Senate session, Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) said that USCIS should present guidelines on what steps foreign workers could take once their CW-1 applications are denied.
Citing this lack of guidelines, Mesngon said in his letter that the recent reduction of CW-1 slots for fiscal year 2018 in late November 2017 resulted in a large number of foreign workers under the program to be denied work permits.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of displaced CW-1 workers and their families in the CNMI,” said Mesngon in his letter.
USCIS reduced the maximum number of CW-1 slots by 3,000, effectively setting the cap at 9,998 for fiscal year 2018. For fiscal year 2017, the cap is set at 12,998.