All denied CW permits could be again submitted once President Donald Trump signs House Resolution 5956 or the Northern Mariana Islands Workforce Act of 2018, according to two officials who were part of the CNMI panel during the 902 Talks almost two years ago.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who led the CNMI panel, said once H.R. 5956—introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)—becomes a law it would supersede all current provisions followed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“As of now, it’s the same thing. They [White House] acknowledged that the President will be signing [H.R. 5956] in 10 days and so, we’re really monitoring for any update from the administration,” Torres told Saipan Tribune during an interview in last Tuesday night’s opening of the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.”
He added that they would inform the public once the bill is signed by Trump. The implementation of the provisions stated in H.R. 5956, once it becomes law, will be done in coordination with USCIS.
“Once signed, the CW numerical cap reverts back to 13,000. Those [petitions] that were denied will have the ability to be applied again,” added Torres.
The current numerical limit is at 4,999 for fiscal year 2029 from 9,998 in FY 2018 based on what’s set on the program followed by USCIS.
Rep. Angel A. Demapan (R-Saipan), who was a member of the CNMI panel during the 902 Talks being the previous chair of the CNMI House Federal and Foreign Relations committee, said H.R. 5956 would be implemented to the letter.
“As of [Tuesday], the communication from Washington [D.C.] is that the bill is already at the President’s office and he is going to be signing it very shortly. Once signed, they are going to implement it to the letter of the law,” said Demapan, who was among the legislators who were also present in last Tuesday’s opening of the soccer center.
“So right now, the reduction that USCIS implemented is based on the existing law, which was based on the flawed H.R. 339. [H.R. 5956] is a fix and if this becomes a law, USCIS can now process applications pursuant to the new increase in the cap and the new extended transition period,” added Demapan.
He said that they have yet to receive word if there would be changes on the procedure that USCIS follows in processing CW permit applications. “While we’re not privy to the [information], whether there’s going to be changes in the procedures, we anticipate it would be the same procedures that’s been going on.”
“The only change is the cap is restored and the transition period is extended. So for those who have yet to expire, pretty much for FY 2018, the window opens and they have a better likelihood that their renewals being processed because this will take affect for the new FY ,” added Demapan.