The leaked White House-proposed immigration bill calling for undocumented immigrants to become permanent residents after eight years makes no mention of the CNMI and its long-term, legal nonresident workers, but Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) said efforts are continuing “to reach out to House and Senate offices, and the White House, with our own particular proposal for the Northern Mariana Islands.”
“The draft plan being circulated that we are aware of outlines the principles that President Obama has made in previous public statements including a path to citizenship, criminal background check, back taxes, among others,” he told Saipan Tribune.
He said it is his understanding that the administration continues to work with Congress and will only draft legislation if Congress does not produce a bill in the near future.
Sablan separately cautioned anyone against believing those who have claimed knowing the contents of any comprehensive immigration bill, nor doing anything detrimental to their own status.
The delegate was responding to stories of how some long-term workers would consider being undocumented aliens just so they can be given pathway to U.S. citizenship under the Obama plan. Sablan said this will hurt rather than help the cause of legal, long-term aliens' status.
Sablan has been working on legislative language that he wants included once a bill is written, either in the Senate or the House, or from the Administration, “that will address the status of legal and documented third-country nationals here in the Northern Mariana Islands.”
This comes at a time when the transitional Commonwealth-only worker program is ending on Dec. 31, 2014.