US lawmakers have raised their concern about the United States' visa policy for Chinese nationals entering the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas (CNMI).
They want the Department of Homeland Security to mandate visa requirements across all territories.
If this goes through, it will cancel the Northern Mariana's discretionary parole programme which allows Chinese tourists to enter visa-free.
This parole programme contributed significantly to sustaining the Marianas' economy before covid, as it heavily depends on tourism, with the China market making up over 40 percent of the CNMI's tourism industry..
In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the lawmakers claimed the Marianas' current policy on Chinese tourists has made the islands vulnerable to problems, including drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and organized crime.
The letter said just this year, the Guam Department of Labor sanctioned four companies in Guam found to be using illegal labour from China.
"Elsewhere, Chinese citizens were caught entering Saipan and then using messaging apps to coordinate illegal jobs and illegal boat rides to Guam, home to highly strategic US military installations," the letter said.
"Moreover, just last month, the US Department of Justice prosecuted a case in which two Chinese nationals using the United States Postal Service for the distribution of methamphetamine in CNMI were sentenced to prison.
"We understand and applaud law enforcement officials on the islands who have been successful at capturing those who come to the CNMI for criminal reasons," the letter added.