31 Mar 2011

CNMI governor calls for overstayers to be deported

7:47 am on 31 March 2011

The Governor of the Northern Marianas says nearly 3,000 foreigners are now illegally in the CNMI, an increase from last year's figure of nearly 2,000.

Benigno Fitial says these overstayers need to be deported because they are competing with local residents for a limited number of jobs.

He says in the past, once a local qualified in a particular job, then a non-resident would be repatriated.

But he says once the federal government took control of CNMI immigration in 2009, the repatriation of non-resident workers has not continued.

He raised the matter with Gary Mead, the executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during a visit to Washington, D.C. last month.

Governor Fitial says Attorney General Edward Buckingham and Mr Mead are now working on the issue.

The governor also reminded the public that it's a crime to harbor an illegal foreigner.