Guam Governor Asks DoD to Stop Construction

An aerial view of U.S. Naval Base Guam and Apra Harbor. The island's governor wants the Department of Defense to halt construction, citing a shortage of foreign labor. (US Navy photo/Kristina Rasco)

HAGATNA, Guam -- Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo has called for the U.S. Department of Defense to halt military construction projects on the island until the shortage of foreign labor is remedied.

Federal immigration officials have denied most of the requests by Guam businesses to use temporary foreign labor under the H-2B visa program, the Pacific Daily News reported on Friday.

A few years ago, the U.S. territory had a foreign workforce of more than 1,000 people. As the number dropped to less than 100, businesses on the island filed a lawsuit over the denials last year.

Calvo has asked the Defense Department to stop military construction and for the guidelines of the buildups to be reassessed. The military has relied on the island's temporary foreign workforce in the past.

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"Unfortunately, this H-2B denial, which started with the bureaucrats of the Obama Administration, continues to linger," said Calvo, a Republican. "In so doing, it is not only hindering our island's economy, but I believe it is risking our island and our nation's security as well."

In a letter to acting Director James W. McCament of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Calvo said the visa denials are causing harm by inflating construction costs and leaving fewer bids for military and civilian projects.

"I consider this a clear and present danger to the safety and health of the people of Guam," Calvo said.

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