Calvo meets with federal officials to discuss H2B issue
The governor announced that former Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work, who is familiar with the Guam military buildup, is now in the Trump Administration.
Guam - Fresh off a trip from the states, Governor Eddie Calvo says despite concerns about the H2 visa denials, there is some hope even in the new Trump Administration.
With a pending lawsuit and historic denials of H2B visas, the business community and the Guam Contractors Association is concerned about completing projects for the island, especially as the island reaches critical mass in a matter of months as a result of the military buildup.
Speaking to the business community during a meeting for the Guam Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, Calvo said he had a bit of good news to report. He was in the states last week for various meetings and to attend the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
"When I got to Washington DC, the day before the inaugural, I met with the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and I shared our concern about the rate of denial for H2B visas as it pertains to national security and our economy. I told them about the critical mass point that’s coming up real soon," noted Calvo.
Specifically what was discussed the governor did not say. But he did note that there is someone in the Trump administration that is familiar with the Guam military buildup.
"There is some good news there. Bob Work, many of you know Bob Work is the fellow, Undersecretary of Navy in the Obama Administration. He signed the Programmatic Agreement with us, with myself, when this program, when the buildup was started. I just got wind from the Trump team that he is now the Deputy Secretary of Defense," announced Calvo. "Bob Work will continue being Deputy Secretary of Defense so there is this continuation of institutional knowledge."
The governor acknowledges the damaging effects the continued denials could have on the Guam community and points out that with the denials so far, $10 billion dollars are on the line.
"With the buildup and the stuff that we have to build locally, we can see where, if this H2 issue is not resolved, we have an economic disaster coming up, the continual denial of petitions are hitting about $8.7 billion in US military construction and about $1.3 billion in non-military economic growth for the island. My team and I remain diligent in finding a working solution to this issue," the governor said.
The Guam Contractors Association says they are working on a settlement deal with the federal government to resolve the matter.