Tourists from China are important to the Marianas economy. They now account for 35 percent of all visitors. Most enter under a parole system agreed by the Obama administration in 2009. But President Trump’s executive order of January 25 directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to review the legality of parole use by the previous administration. That could hurt Marianas tourism.
Governor Ralph Torres made the economic case for continuing parole directly with President Trump—the first time, I believe, a Marianas Governor has met a President in the Oval Office. Afterwards, the Governor called and I congratulated his success at raising this issue to the highest level. I met with new Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, also about the importance of Chinese tourism to the Marianas, and about the misuse of CW permits, which the Governor and I raised in our letter of March 16.
I look forward to continuing to work together with the Governor on these important issues.