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Christensen Helps Workers with Security Card

June 18, 2009 — Workers on St. Croix whose applications for Transportation Worker Identification Credentials have been stalled, are receiving help from Delegate Donna Christensen, who has been working with Transportation Security Administration and federal Homeland Security personnel to streamline the application process.
Of the 48 employees who have asked for help over the past two months, only 17 are still awaiting word from the Transportation Security Administration on their application, according to a recent press release from Christensen's office. Meanwhile, the rest of the applicants have either received their cards and have returned to work, or have been approved for one.
After April 14, truckers, dockworkers, contractors and anyone else needing regular access to port facilities in the territory were required have a federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or "TWIC" identification card. The cards cost $132 and are good for five years, which makes the cost $26.50 annually. They allow the carrier unescorted access to any port facility in the nation. Once a person has a card he or she is good to go, even if moving or changing jobs. About 7,000 workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands' ports will need to enroll — 6,500 on St. Croix and 500 on St. Thomas. (See "Port Workers Need to Sign Up for New Security ID Card.")
The goal of the TWIC program, established by Congress through the Maritime Transportation Security Act, is to enhance security at ports throughout the nation. At the docks, U.S. Coast Guard personnel ensure workers in secure areas have gone through a thorough background test and do not pose a threat to the facility, according to the release.
“The Transportation Security Administration continues to experience a tremendous backlog of cases that resulted in 10,000 workers across the country losing their jobs while they awaited approval of the TWIC,” Christensen said. “I am pleased that most of the men and women who came to us for assistance have been issued a TWIC and have returned to work.”
Christensen 's office began receiving complaints a couple of months ago from Hovensa employees and contractors about delayed applications, along with TWIC applicants working for trucking companies, WAPA and the V.I. Port Authority. Since the program went into effect April 14, individuals without a TWIC were not allowed to get into the refinery and could not return to work, she explained.
Hovensa was asked to give the employees more time for their cases to be processed by TSA. The refinery gave the workers until June 30, the release said.
“My office will continue to do what we can to assist these employees in securing a TWIC and keeping their jobs,” Christensen said in the release Thursday.
Some of the workers' applications took longer to process because of their immigration status, she added. Workers who were initially disqualified requested an appeal, waiver or extension. That process, which usually took up to 60 days, was extended because of the backlog, and TSA has indicated the wait time climbed to 90 days, Christensen explained.
“TSA has improved response time for applicants who applied months in advance, but some applicants who applied within the last three months may experience delays, especially if TSA requires more information from them,” Christensen said.

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June 18, 2009 -- Workers on St. Croix whose applications for Transportation Worker Identification Credentials have been stalled, are receiving help from Delegate Donna Christensen, who has been working with Transportation Security Administration and federal Homeland Security personnel to streamline the application process.
Of the 48 employees who have asked for help over the past two months, only 17 are still awaiting word from the Transportation Security Administration on their application, according to a recent press release from Christensen's office. Meanwhile, the rest of the applicants have either received their cards and have returned to work, or have been approved for one.
After April 14, truckers, dockworkers, contractors and anyone else needing regular access to port facilities in the territory were required have a federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or "TWIC" identification card. The cards cost $132 and are good for five years, which makes the cost $26.50 annually. They allow the carrier unescorted access to any port facility in the nation. Once a person has a card he or she is good to go, even if moving or changing jobs. About 7,000 workers in the U.S. Virgin Islands' ports will need to enroll -- 6,500 on St. Croix and 500 on St. Thomas. (See "Port Workers Need to Sign Up for New Security ID Card.")
The goal of the TWIC program, established by Congress through the Maritime Transportation Security Act, is to enhance security at ports throughout the nation. At the docks, U.S. Coast Guard personnel ensure workers in secure areas have gone through a thorough background test and do not pose a threat to the facility, according to the release.
“The Transportation Security Administration continues to experience a tremendous backlog of cases that resulted in 10,000 workers across the country losing their jobs while they awaited approval of the TWIC,” Christensen said. “I am pleased that most of the men and women who came to us for assistance have been issued a TWIC and have returned to work.”
Christensen 's office began receiving complaints a couple of months ago from Hovensa employees and contractors about delayed applications, along with TWIC applicants working for trucking companies, WAPA and the V.I. Port Authority. Since the program went into effect April 14, individuals without a TWIC were not allowed to get into the refinery and could not return to work, she explained.
Hovensa was asked to give the employees more time for their cases to be processed by TSA. The refinery gave the workers until June 30, the release said.
“My office will continue to do what we can to assist these employees in securing a TWIC and keeping their jobs,” Christensen said in the release Thursday.
Some of the workers' applications took longer to process because of their immigration status, she added. Workers who were initially disqualified requested an appeal, waiver or extension. That process, which usually took up to 60 days, was extended because of the backlog, and TSA has indicated the wait time climbed to 90 days, Christensen explained.
“TSA has improved response time for applicants who applied months in advance, but some applicants who applied within the last three months may experience delays, especially if TSA requires more information from them,” Christensen said.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.