WASHINGTON, D.C.—The full Natural Resources Committee will hold a Feb. 27 legislative hearing (Feb. 28 on Saipan) to discuss H.R. 560, a bill by Rep. Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-CNMI) to clarify legal status for certain CNMI residents.
The hearing will take place starting at 10am, Washington, D.C. time).
Witnesses at the hearing will speak to the need to provide continued legal resident status for a group of people born in the Northern Mariana Islands after the local government voted to become a U.S. territory but before the CNMI was legally accepted as a commonwealth.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama had been offering those people—all of whom are officially designated as stateless persons—humanitarian parole to remain in the CNMI, which did not extend to a free right of travel to the U.S. mainland. President Trump revoked that parole in December 2018, which left parolees in legal limbo and threatens to force approximately 1,500 people to leave the Commonwealth by June 2019.
As with all hearings, the event is open to media and the public.
The witness list includes Gov. Ralph DLG Torres; Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero; Michael S. Sablan, vice president at private company Triple J Enterprises and a former public auditor of the CNMI; Nikolao Pula, director, Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; and Dr. David B. Gootnick, director, International Affairs and Trade, U.S. Government Accountability Office. (PR)