Torres to meet with Sen. Murkowski in Alaska


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres left Sunday for Alaska where he would meet with the state’s officials including Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and related agencies under the Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. Senate.

Senate President Francisco M. Borja (Ind-Tinian) is now the acting governor as Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog is also on leave for his annual medical check up in the Philippines. Torres, who left Saipan last Sunday, is expected to be back on the island on Sept. 19.

Torres’ meeting with Murkowski and her staff had long been scheduled. He would also meet with other officials of the state and other leaders of the community.

Murkowski is the chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee that deals with the territories and the proposed extension of the CNMI-Only Transitional Worker nonimmigrant visa (CW-1) program and other labor issues are among the top items on the agenda of Torres’ meeting with her.

His administration wants to extend the CW program for another 10 years and increase the cap to 18,000.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services last week issued a deferred action on the CW-1 cap granting a 240-day extension to employees with expiring CW-1 visas.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, also last week, reduced the CW-1 cap for fiscal year 2017, which starts on Oct. 1, by one to 12,998.

CNMI local government officials and U.S. Delegate Gregorio “Kilili” Sablan, who are united in saying that the USCIS and DHS know the economic impact of the issues if it failed to be address, hailed both decisions.

Partnerships on job training and other economic collaboration that the CNMI and Alaska can work toward are also expected to be discussed.

The CNMI and Alaska will also be sharing a lot of information that they have been experiencing. Both are facing the same problems like labor issues, workforce investment, and how to develop isolated areas economically.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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