November 12, 2014
The majority of the members of the Hispanic and Progressive Caucuses voted against the bill, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Luis Guiterrez (D-IL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-IL).
The bill has not been passed by the U.S. Senate. It is scheduled to be heard in the Senate this afternoon.
The bill would extend the E2-CNMI visa Program for 5 more years. While I support a pathway to citizenship for every legal, long term nonresident, including the legal long-term investors who currently hold E2-CNMI visas, I do support the bill's passage only to protect the E2-Investors. Without this bill and in the absence of the passage of a bill to provide permanent U.S. status, most of the loyal E2 investors would be forced to leave the CNMI and would suffer great financial losses.
There has been no action to push for permanent residency for the de facto citizens who make up more than 90% of the private work force in the CNMI.
The bill also exempted the CNMI and Guam from the cap on foreign workers who fill temporary positions. This will provide more workers who will be needed for the large upcoming construction projects.
Additionally, H.R. 83 exempts the CNMI from U.S. asylum laws. I disagree with this provision. Asylum laws must be applied to every U.S. state and territory
uniformly. Upholding human rights trumps any perceived claim, such as problems with Russian and Chinese tourist visas.