19 Sep 2011

Support growing for CNMI only resident status for four groups

2:41 pm on 19 September 2011

Support for a bill granting residency status in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana islands to four specific groups is drawing increasing support among worker groups and their supporters.

Support has been boosted by the release of the final Commonwealth-only worker rule

Only foreign workers petitioned by their employers for Commonwealth Worker status on or before November 27 are covered by the new US federal rule.

A peaceful assembly is being planned by different worker groups to drum up support for Gregorio Kilili Sablan's bill, which has 48 supporters in the U.S. Congress.

Mr Sablan's bill seeks to grant resident status in the CNMI to permanent residents, those born in the CNMI between January 1974 and January 1978, and immediate relatives of some U.S. and Freely Associated States citizens.

Worker advocate, Malou Berueco, hopes the US Congress will soon pass the bill, because there's less than three months to go before these groups could be forced to leave the CNMI as their status will no longer be recognized under federal law.