Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on Wednesday November 7, 2007 the House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 3079, a revised CNMI immigration bill which incorporates many of the issues raised by Faleomavaega.
The new legislation requires the GAO to submit to Congress a report assessing the implementation of federal immigration policy, performance of Federal Agencies and the Government of the Commonwealth in meeting congressional intent, short-term and long-term impacts of implementation, economic benefits and the status of illegal aliens in CNMI.
The new legislation also removes provisions that could have granted eligible aliens family-sponsored visas and additional employment-based visas. Moreover, Section 6(h), which would have made it easier for about 7000 guest workers to gain nonimmigrant status in the CNMI, was removed from the new legislation.
The revised legislation also provides for the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish and enforce a system that will ensure adequate employment in the CNMI. In designing this system, the Secretary determines the number of permits, conditions for issuance of permits and other factors depending on the economic needs of the CNMI.
Underscoring the need for self-government, Congressman Faleomavaega secured a provision in the law that provides for the Secretary to consider comments and advice from the Governor of the Commonwealth. “This amendment recognizes the right of CNMI to self governance. The proposed amendment provides for a viable framework in which federal agencies can receive inputs and comments from representatives of the local government,” Faleomavaega said.
“In considering the revised CNMI immigration bill, I am comfortable knowing that it provides a framework flexible enough to protect US borders but also sensitive to the needs of the CNMI people. This important legislation addresses issues and concerns unique to the CNMI situation and circumstances, but shall not be construed as emblematic of US immigration policies towards other US territories and commonwealths.”
“I appreciate the support of the Committee and Chairman Rahall in making these changes, and I especially thank Senators Inouye, Akaka, and Bingaman for their assurances that American Samoa will not be impacted by this legislation,” Faleomavaega concluded.