25 Jul 2007

Northern Marianas governor voices strong opposition to federalisation of immigration system

3:04 pm on 25 July 2007

The governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Benigno Fitial, has told a U.S. Senate Committee that if Congress approves a bill to federalize the territory's immigration system, there is no reason for him to exist.

Governor Fitial was testifying at a hearing on a U.S. Senate bill that would extend federal control of immigration in the Northern Marianas.

At present the CNMI sets and controls its own immigration policies.

Governor Fitial asked the federal government to help him and not to supplant or replace him, saying it was best for local people to correct local problems.

However, the U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Akaka, who was the author of the federalization bill, says one of the problems he sees is that every time there's a change in administration in the CNMI, immigration policies also change.

He says this made it difficult for Washington to have confidence in local leadership.