Bill pushes Marianas-only resident status for some


With the CNMI’s population dropping precipitously based on the 2020 census, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (D-MP) has introduced a bill that would encourage approximately 1,600 long-term foreign workers living on the islands since 2015 to remain here by offering them a permanent status.

Under Sablan’s H.R. 560, or the Northern Mariana Islands Population Stabilization Act that he introduced before the U.S. Congress last Thursday, 21 foreign investors in the Marianas since before 2009 could also apply for the permanent Marianas-only residents status.

In his e-kilili newsletter issued over the weekend, the delegate noted that the number of people living in the Marianas dropped by 12.2% between the 2010 and 2020 U.S. census.

“That means lower tax revenues for the Commonwealth government and fewer customers for our local businesses,” he said.

Sablan said he introduced the legislation to counter those negative trends.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 report, the CNMI’s total population went down from 53,883 in 2010 to 47,329 as of April 1, 2020, which is 6,554 fewer people or a 12.2% drop.

“The population loss in our islands and resulting loss of economic viability not only hurt all of us, but also have implications for the U.S. strategic position in the Western Pacific,” Sablan said.

With increasing competition for dominance from China, the United States needs to be strengthening position in the region, not shrinking in significance, he added.

“My legislation fits into that larger strategic imperative,” he added.

It was during the time of then-president Donald Trump who signed the laws defining who are long-term workers and establishing the Marianas-only status.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.