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Freshman senator concerned about alien labor

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - A freshman senator is raising concern over several Department of Labor alien worker applications that she questions may have violated the law. And Labor officials are defending the actions they've done in the past.

"I find it curious that you don't have to put individual names and I find it curious that our commander in chief didn't sign off on the paperwork," noted Republican Aline Yamashita, who says she came across several applications for temporary alien labor certifications that seemed unusual. "The first thing that struck me was that there were no names on these forms, but under where it says 'Names', it was filled in as multiple unnamed aliens. And in '(names to be submitted)', and I just thought you know that seems strange because this is an application process so when you apply for something you put your name."

He continued, "I want to know that the processes that are in place to protect our island community to ensure that everybody gets a fair shake at job employment is safeguarded, and that's what I want to know."

Senator Yamashita first pushed the issue during this week's confirmation hearing for DOL acting director Leah Beth Naholowaa. Although the appointee said she wasn't aware of the situation, she said she would look into it. "We've re-reviewed the application and there's nothing wrong and actually this application was approved by immigration and gone through all the other steps," DOL Alien Labor Processing and Certification Division administrator Greg Massey confirmed.

Massey told KUAM News that he received a copy of the documents in question on Thursday, and defends the actions taken to hire the foreign workers. "Typically on new application because you're starting the process so early, names wouldn't be submitted and under the regulations it's not required that you have names for the initial application," he said.

But Yamashita pointed out another concern in the application, saying, "Governor Felix Camacho was our governor and the signature on top of that wasn't, so I was struck by and this paperwork represented many positions."

But Massey again defended the signature from former governor's chief of staff, George Bamba, saying that in 2008 then-governor Felix Camacho appointed Bamba and his legal counsel to sign off on these types of documents. While Massey says they continue to follow the strict guidelines when hiring foreign workers, Yamashita says she has asked the attorney general, the police chief, and the public auditor to investigate the matter in an effort to ensure everything is on the up and up at the Department of Labor.

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