Sablan’s permanent residence bill gets committee approval

by Sep 18, 2019Congress0 comments

Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D) of the Northern Mariana Islands had two bills approved for a vote by the United States House of Representatives. The US House Committee on Natural Resources reported out HR 560, Sablan’s bill making permanent resident status in the Marianas possible for an estimated 2,875 long-term CW workers. The bill also gives some 56 foreign investors, originally admitted under the Marianas’ own immigration law, the ability to stay in the islands indefinitely. In June, Sablan won the same Marianas-only permanent resident status for over 1,000 individuals, who have been living in the islands under a temporary humanitarian parole program.

“By moving long-term workers out of the CW program and giving them the ability to live and work in the Marianas for as long as they want,” Delegate Sablan said, “We are taking a burden off the businesses they work for that have had to apply for CW permits year-after-year.”

“My bill gives the businesses certainty and stabilizes our labor market in a way that will have positive economic effects going forward.”

HR 560 originally included the groups covered by humanitarian parole, but Sablan decided earlier in the year to work on their situation separately, because they faced a June 29 deportation deadline. President Trump signed the Sablan legislation providing the parolees permanent status with just days to spare on June 25.

The committee action amended HR 560, removing the parole groups, leaving long-term workers and investors. The next step for HR 560 is a vote by the full House.

Shark fin bill now has 230 cosponsors

Also, approved in committee was Sablan’s Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. The bill, HR 737, generally makes it illegal to possess, buy, or sell shark fins or any product containing shark fins in the United States. It is modeled after a law in the Marianas and similar restrictions in 12 states and two other non-state areas of the US.

Conservation groups hailed the committee’s action. Oceana tweeted, “Thank you @RepRaulGrijalva and Del. @Kilili_Sablan for your leadership in standing for sharks by supporting the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act today.”

The Animal Welfare Institute tweeted “to thank @NRDems for passing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, sponsored by @Kilili_Sablan & @RepMcCaul! This bill would prohibit anyone from selling or having #SharkFins, which are often cruelly sliced off live animals to make soup and other dishes.”

The shark fin bill currently has 230 cosponsors, a majority of House members. Both of Sablan’s bills, HR 560 and HR 737, have bipartisan support.