Undocumented aliens encouraged to get tested

Posted on Jun 03 2020

With almost 6,000 specimens collected, the CNMI continues to ramp up its COVID-19 community-based testing and everyone is being encouraged to get tested, even undocumented immigrants.

According to COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez, they are framing up different messaging, including “encouraging incentives” to get immigrants tested, adding that the risk factor is low, should anyone test positive.

The task force is working alongside different agencies to minimize the spread of COVID-19, as well as to minimize the risk and exposure of the entire CNMI community to the virus. “We are working tightly with the Customs and Border Protection, with the governor, lieutenant governor, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agents, as well as our Labor Department here in the CNMI, to make sure to get into the bed of the villages to convince these people that it’s important that they come out and get tested,” Villagomez said.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has been repeatedly encouraging people to register and get tested for COVID-19. Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña also earlier stated that the testing could help the CNMI contain any positive cases.

“The more we get our folks tested, same with Rota and Tinian, the better gauge we have as a community on understanding where we are at, and also in terms of us moving forward in one direction,” the governor said, at a news briefing last Monday.

Undocumented aliens are those who came to the U.S illegally without proper authorization and documents, or those who entered the U.S. legally and have violated the terms of their visa, or have overstayed.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal, state, and local agencies in the COVID-19 response, helping facilitate the transport of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents back home during the pandemic.

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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