July 7, 2013
Congressman George Miller (D-CA) has joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in protesting the senseless September closure of the Federal Ombudsman Office planned by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs.
In a letter to Secretary Sally Jewel the Congressman recognized that the office is essential and more abuses will occur if it it closed.
Echoing Senator Wyden's concerns, he wrote:
"Since its establishment the Ombudsman's Office has handled numerous cases dealing with the long-standing pattern of mistreatment of alien workers. For years, the Ombudsman Office has helped refer to the proper CNMI and federal agencies thousands of foreign workers who were victims of labor abuses, human trafficking, sex trafficking, and illegal recruitment, among other things. The office also helped victims of criminal acts such as rape, assault and battery, false imprisonment and torture."Congressman Miller also acknowledged that neither the Office of Insular Affairs CNMI Field Office nor other federal agencies can practically absorb the work of the Ombudsman Office. He wrote, "The plans for this transition are preliminary at best and do not inspire confidence that these cases will be handled with the due diligence and confidence that they deserve."
The Congressman requested answers to the questions posed by Senator Wyden in his letter to DOI Secretary Sally Jewel.
Read Congressman Miller's letter: