A bill seeking to grant a CNMI-only resident status to four groups of nonresidents is not expected to be acted on by the U.S. House of Representatives before the Nov. 6 national elections, but hopes are high that those covered in the bill will continue to be allowed to remain in the CNMI beyond Dec. 31, 2012.
This week, the U.S. House will have its three last session days before recess and Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan's (Ind-MP) H.R. 1466 is not on the agenda although it remains on union calendar.
When the U.S. House convenes again in October, the last one before the elections, no voting is expected on any bill.
“I don't see any reason why USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] should not continue the parole in place for those covered in HR 1466,” Sablan said in a phone interview last night, early morning in Washington, D.C.
Rabby Syed, president of the United Workers Movement-NMI, has been saying that worker groups will jointly ask Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to extend the parole in place “beyond” Dec. 31, 2012 to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and certain “stateless” individuals covered in H.R. 1466.
Syed himself earlier said HR 1466 would have difficulty moving in U.S. Congress before the end of 2012 because of the November national election and the January inauguration, so it would make sense to “automatically extend the humanitarian parole granted to those covered in HR 1466.”
HR 1466 seeks a grant of CNMI-only resident status for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens as of May 8, 2008 and continuing to be on the islands, CNMI permanent residents, those born in the CNMI between Jan. 1, 1974 and Jan. 9, 1978, and spouses, parents, or children of U.S. citizens under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
During Thanksgiving 2011, USCIS announced it will consider granting, on a case-by-case basis, parole until Dec. 31, 2012, to those covered in HR 1466.
This parole allows individuals who are lawfully present in the CNMI as of Nov. 27, 2011, to maintain legal status in the CNMI beyond that date.
The Fitial administration opposed HR 1466 and the granting of such humanitarian parole for those covered in the bill. The administration had said “the cost of allowing all these unemployed [and unemployable] foreigners to remain in a very small economy like the CNMI is very high. This could give rise to a larger underground economy and cause more legitimate businesses to close.”