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Gregorio 'Kilili' Sablan

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The U.S. Representative for Northern Mariana Islands's At large district, serving since 2009.
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News

House okays extension of asylum bar, H visa exemption, investor visa
H.R.83, with my language extending critical immigration policies in the Northern Mariana Islands for another five years, is now the vehicle for funding the federal government for fiscal year 2015. The House approved the bill 219 to 206 late Thursday night and the Senate is expected to act over the weekend. The White House says the President will sign the measure. If enacted, H.R.83 will continue three policies set to expire on December 31. The first, exemption from the national cap on the number of H visas will enable big construction projects like Best Sunshine to bring in short-term workers. The second, the E-2C investor visa, will allow 261 foreign investors, who entered the NMI under the Commonwealth’s own immigration law, to stay another five years. The third, continuing the bar on claims of asylum from our islands, will secure the parole policy that allow tourists from China and Russia to enter the NMI visa free. Without this bar the Congressional Budget Office estimated that











Saipan food stamps up 16% January 1
Very good news for people on Saipan, who get help from the federal government to feed their families: their food stamp benefit will go up 16 percent on January 1. For an average family of four that is an increase from $444 a month to $515. This follows increases for Rota, the Northern Islands, and Tinian in May to reflect the higher cost of food on those islands. But there was still money left over from previous years’ grants, so I have been encouraging the Commonwealth and the Agriculture Department to raise benefits for Saipan, too. Agriculture gave the okay last Friday, allowing the Commonwealth the option of raising benefits on Saipan anywhere from 10 to 16 percent. I spoke with the Governor several weeks ago in anticipation of this decision and recommended that he go for the full 16 percent. And I understand that the Governor has decided to raise food stamps for Saipan to the maximum possible. That is the right decision. Increasing benefits for Saipan is one more step forward











Kilili’s language remains, as Senate passes H.R. 83
Washington, DC — The insular areas bill, H.R. 83, funding most of the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2015 and containing special immigration provisions for the Northern Mariana Islands written by Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan passed the U.S. Senate late Saturday night. The bill now goes to the President, who has indicated he will sign it into law. Passage of H.R. 83 represents 2 years of work by Congressman Sablan to continue several existing policies critical to the health of the Northern Marianas’ economy. Six separate bills, including H.R. 83, have been introduced in this Congress, containing the language needed to extend the policies until 2019.  Even as H.R. 83 with its $1.1 trillion funding for the federal government moved closer to final passage, the Congressman worked with leadership to have back-up legislation, H.R. 5803, passed by the House on Thursday in the event the massive spending bill failed. In the end, however, Sablan’s back-up pla











Rota National Park study goes to President; Senate passes NDAA
Legislation instructing the Interior Department to study whether areas of Rota should be designated as part of the National Park system is on its way to the President for signature. I was able to add the necessary language to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which the House passed last week and the Senate passed today. Establishing a Rota National Park has been part of my legislative agenda since my first term in Congress. Stand-alone legislation authorizing a “suitability and feasibility” study for the Park has passed the House three times without action by the Senate, but attaching the study to the larger Defense bill finally did the trick. A 2005 Park Service reconnaissance, requested by Rota Senator Diego Songao, found that archeological, historical, and natural resources on Rota have “national significance,” the first criteria for a Park. But without a finding of suitability and feasibility Congress will not make the final designation. A 2001 study, for instanc














 
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