U.S. Immigration To Approve 240-Day For Nurses At CNMI Hospital

Honolulu office confirms receipt of 'acceptable' applications

By Lori Lyn C. Lirio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 4, 2017) – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Honolulu District Director David G. Gulick has confirmed that the courier receipt is acceptable and will validate the 240-day extension of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. nurses affected by the CW cap., according to CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna.

The courier receipt refers to the CW extension applications sent by CHCC to USCIS through FedEx.

Muna said she spoke with Gulick via teleconference on Friday, and the USCIS district director referred her to the guidelines posted online.

“I also met with the nurses again [Monday] morning and discussed the situation. They [may decide] to stay,” Muna said, adding that 15 of the 18 affected nurses are still on the island and can remain here until July 6.

Muna also met with CNMI lawmakers on Friday to discuss the nurses’ situation.

“The Legislature is very supportive. Rep. Joe Itibus and the members of the health committee are offering to introduce and adopt a resolution which the nurses can show when they have to go to the U.S. Embassy [in Manila],” she said.

Muna said the resolution will state that the affected nurses are needed in the community and that the CNMI wants them to stay because it needs their services.

“We’ll go beyond what we usually do, giving them [the nurses] those letters of support whether from the administration or the Legislature, or from the office of U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. Clearly, they have the support of the community,” Muna said.

“I told them this is the first time such tremendous support has been seen in the community. Nobody wants to see them leave. This is coming from the physicians, coming from everyone. Everyone wants them to stay. I hope they will feel confident that we will be with them throughout this process. It is not a guarantee. I cannot guarantee anything, but I can assure them of our support.”

Right now, Muna says, “because of the lack of documents from USCIS, we are at least providing the nurses with some kind of assurance. The 240-day extension applies to them, but we would prefer it to be in black and white and not just from the website. What they [the nurses] want is the signature [from USCIS].”

Muna said they have consulted lawyers regarding the documents they will be providing to the nurses.

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