S.C.R. NO.









URGING the HONOLULU DISTRICT OFFICE OF THE u.s. cITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES to Authorize the entry of filipino longline fishermen with valid transit visas.


WHEREAS, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Act of Nov. 25, 2002, P.L. No. 107-290, 116 Stat. 2135) transferred the responsibility of providing immigration related services and benefits, such as naturalization and work authorization, from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and

WHEREAS, USCIS exclusively focuses on immigration and citizenship services, and the Honolulu District Office of USCIS provides services for immigration-related matters for the State of Hawaii, Territory of Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and

WHEREAS, a transit visa does not grant immigrant status, but rather authorizes the entry of a foreign national in immediate and continuous transit through the United States, and is obtained through United States consulates; and

WHEREAS, USCIS has suspended the use of transit visas for foreign longline fishermen and now requires valid temporary work visas to obtain legal entry into the United States; and

WHEREAS, a temporary work visa authorizes an immigrant to legally stay and work in the United States for a set period of time, and is obtained upon the approval of the U.S. Department of Labor and USCIS; and

WHEREAS, USCIS's regulations on foreign fishermen in transit have negatively affected the longline industry because foreign fishermen, working through one-year renewable contracts at relatively inexpensive wages, are no longer able to dock in U.S. ports, such as Pier 17 and Kewalo Basin located in Honolulu, Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, USCIS's regulations impair Hawaii-based fishing companies' ability to contract with overseas Philippines contract workers, who come to Hawaii with the skills needed to work in longline fishing; and

WHEREAS, according to the Hawaii Longline Association, Hawaii's longline fishing industry relies heavily on foreign fishermen, sixty percent of whom are Filipino; and

WHEREAS, the economic success of Hawaii-based fisheries and their contributions to the State's economy are in jeopardy because of the lack of skilled and affordable foreign fishermen with valid temporary work visas; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-Second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Honolulu District Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is urged to authorize the entry of Filipino longline fishermen with valid transit visas; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Honolulu District Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Consulate of the Philippines, the Philippine Consulate, and the Governor.






Report Title:

Filipino National Longline Fishermen