From the Variety:
Deputy Labor Secretary Jacinta M. Kaipat said increasing the employment rate of U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents and CNMI permanent residents will strengthen the islands’ foreign-labor dependent economy.Is this an omnibus bill or an ominous bill? So far we know it contains goodies like a required Foreign National ID and jail time and a fine of up to $500 for not having it on one's person; some jive about DOL having the authority to revoke umbrella permits that they promised would be recognized until 2011; and other junk like changing the word immigration to labor in a few places so DOL can maintain immigration authority disguised as labor actions.
“We are proposing to change our hiring preference from a flat percentage (20 percent rising to 30 percent) to a floating benchmark governed by the percentage of the population that is U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents and CNMI permanent residents,” Kaipat said in her written testimony submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations which is reviewing House Bill 17-25, or the Immigration Conformity Act of 2010.
“As foreign workers depart the commonwealth, the percentage of ‘U.S. qualified’ persons in the commonwealth’s working population has been rising. We estimate that it is now about 40 percent of the total workforce and is still rising. A floating benchmark serves us better as a practical matter and is similar to the ‘hiring goals’ that have been used in the U.S. for many years,” she added.
H.B. 17-25 is proposed to be lumped with another bill pre-filed in the Senate.
This omnibus bill will amend parts of Public Law 15-108, or the Commonwealth Employment Act of 2007.
What will this provision really do? Well, businesses will continue to "hire" locals on paper, but they (shhh) won't really be working there. This has gone on since I lived in the CNMI. Then there will be businesses that will be saddled with workers that are not qualified, skilled or experienced, and they will be expected to try to train them to meet this mandatory quota. Oh, and let's not forget the employers like the Hafa Adai Hotel that had the guest workers train their own replacements. Classy.
“We have enough jobs in the commonwealth’s economy at present to employ every single U.S. citizen in the commonwealth who wants a job. We currently have more than 9,000 jobs filled by foreign workers. If the U.S. Census Bureau provided us with the same services they provide to every state and county in the U.S., I could tell you how many unemployed people we have,” she said.
“But the U.S. Census refuses to give us the vital information they provide mainland jurisdictions so we are left to guess about unemployment in the commonwealth. However, we know that we had about 11,000 people filing W-2 forms last year and we know we have about 32,000 U.S. qualified residents — that is, U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents and CNMI permanent residents,” she added.