FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ----
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that legislation has been introduced which would exert new federal control over the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The bill will phase-in the federal minimum wage in the CNMI, include the CNMI within the immigration laws of the United States, restrict the use of the "Made in USA" label on garments made in the CNMI, and require that annual reports be made to Congress by the Department of the Interior on the status of immigration and labor issues in the CNMI. The legislation was sponsored by Congressman George Miller, the Senior Democratic Member on the House Committee on Resources.
"The introduction of this legislation, co-sponsored by 27 Members of Congress, reflects the increased concern which many Members of Congress have with recent actions taken by the CNMI, including the use of thousands of immigrant workers in garment manufacturing plants. A report issued by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Resources documents serious violations of federal law which will likely be addressed by some form of federal action," said Faleomavaega.
"While American Samoa's history on immigration and labor issues is much different than that of the CNMI, these are the only two jurisdictions in which the federal minimum wage and immigration laws do not apply. I am concerned that those who are not familiar with our history may try to draw parallels between CNMI and American Samoa, and this could work to our detriment," continued the Congressman.
"As part of my ongoing effort to keep our local leaders apprised of actions in Congress which can have an impact on American Samoa, I have written to Governor Tauese and our Fono leaders on this subject and have provided copies of the legislation and report to them for their review and evaluation," concluded Faleomavaega.