Gov. Ralph DLG Torres maintains that he has always been an advocate for providing a more permanent status to long-time workers in the CNMI.
In an interview yesterday, Torres maintained that he has always advocated for providing long-term status to CW-1 workers who have been in the CNMI for many years.
“When people ask me if I am in support [of long-term status for CW-1 workers], obviously I have been in support since Day 1,” he said.
Torres pointed out that that has been his stance since his days in the Legislature.
“We have been making those strides already since Day 1… It is documented [several] years ago, so it is [not] news that I am an advocate for long-term status,” he said, adding that he previously proposed Senate documentation proposing to give long-term status to foreign workers in the NMI.
Torres penned during his tenure as a senator a 365-page document on the CNMI Senate’s position then on providing long-term status to long-time workers in the CNMI. The recommendation was published on March 2011. The document was submitted to the U.S. Congress then.
Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), in a letter dated Aug. 1, 2018, solicited the support of Torres for his H.R. 6578, which aims to provide a Marianas-only long-term status to CW-1 permit holders who have held such a permit since 2015. Sablan’s proposal contains a pathways to U.S. permanent residency.
When asked whether he would support the bill or not, Torres stated that he would do “whatever it takes to continue” supporting long-term status for CW-1 workers.
“I have always been in support of long-term status. I would be working with other [U.S. congressmen] as well as the Republic Party because it is a Republican leadership,” he said.
Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), who is the running mate of Torres for lieutenant governor, said that Sablan himself noted in his letter to Torres that the bill’s passage through the current Congress is slim.
“We’ll work with whoever is the delegate to make sure that happens… We submitted our recommendation to the U.S. President under the 902 agreement, which was then submitted to the U.S. Congress [then]. Had it been acted on two years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about it today, but it is what it is and, at the end of the day, the governor and I are certainly in support of…alleviating labor shortage issues,” he said.