H.R. 3079 (110th): To amend the joint resolution that approved the covenant establishing the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, ...

...and for other purposes.

110th Congress, 2007–2009. Text as of Jul 18, 2007 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 3079

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 18, 2007

(for herself and Mr. Rahall) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

A BILL

To amend the Joint Resolution Approving the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and for other purposes.

I

Northern Mariana Islands Immigration, Security, and Labor Act

101.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act.

102.

Statement of congressional intent

(a)

Immigration and growth

In recognition of the need to ensure uniform adherence to long-standing fundamental immigration policies of the United States, it is the intention of Congress in enacting this title—

(1)

to ensure that effective border control procedures are implemented and observed, and that national security and homeland security issues are properly addressed, by extending the Immigration and Nationality Act, (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), to apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (referred to in this title as the Commonwealth), with special provisions to allow for—

(A)

the orderly phasing-out of the nonresident contract worker program of the Commonwealth; and

(B)

the orderly phasing-in of Federal responsibilities over immigration in the Commonwealth; and

(2)

to minimize, to the greatest extent practicable, potential adverse economic and fiscal effects of phasing-out the Commonwealth’s nonresident contract worker program and to maximize the Commonwealth’s potential for future economic and business growth by—

(A)

encouraging diversification and growth of the economy of the Commonwealth in accordance with fundamental values underlying Federal immigration policy;

(B)

recognizing local self-government, as provided for in the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America through consultation with the Governor of the Commonwealth;

(C)

assisting the Commonwealth in achieving a progressively higher standard of living for citizens of the Commonwealth through the provision of technical and other assistance;

(D)

providing opportunities for individuals authorized to work in the United States, including citizens of the freely associated states; and

(E)

providing a mechanism for the continued use of alien workers, to the extent those workers continue to be necessary to supplement the Commonwealth’s resident workforce, and to protect those workers from the potential for abuse and exploitation.

(b)

Avoiding adverse effects

In recognition of the Commonwealth’s unique economic circumstances, history, and geographical location, it is the intent of Congress that the Commonwealth be given as much flexibility as possible in maintaining existing businesses and other revenue sources, and developing new economic opportunities, consistent with the mandates of this title. This title, and the amendments made by this title, should be interpreted wherever possible to expand tourism and economic development in the Commonwealth, including aiding prospective tourists in gaining access to the Commonwealth’s memorials, beaches, parks, dive sites, and other points of interest.

103.

Immigration reform for the commonwealth

(a)

Amendments to the Joint Resolution To Approve the Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America

The Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241; 90 Stat. 263), is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

6.

Immigration and transition

(a)

Application of the immigration and nationality Act and establishment of a transition program

(1)

In general

Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), effective on the first day of the first full month commencing 1 year after the date of enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act (hereafter referred to as the transition program effective date), the provisions of the immigration laws (as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17))) shall apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (referred to in this section as the Commonwealth), except as otherwise provided in this section.

(2)

Transition period

Notwithstanding paragraph (1) or any provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), there shall be a transition period beginning on the transition program effective date and ending December 31, 2017, except as provided in subsection (d), during which the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of the Interior, shall establish, administer, and enforce a transition program to regulate immigration to the Commonwealth, as provided in this section (hereafter referred to as the transition program).

(3)

Requirement for regulations

The transition program shall be implemented pursuant to regulations to be promulgated, as appropriate, by the head of each agency or department of the United States having responsibilities under the transition program.

(4)

Interagency agreements

The Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of the Interior shall negotiate and implement agreements among their agencies to identify and assign their respective duties so as to ensure timely and proper implementation of the provisions of this section. The agreements should address, at a minimum, procedures to ensure that Commonwealth employers have access to adequate labor, and that tourists, students, retirees, and other visitors have access to the Commonwealth without unnecessary delay or impediment. The agreements may also allocate funding between the respective agencies tasked with various responsibilities under this section.

(5)

Asylum

(A)

Requirements

The Government of the Commonwealth shall comply with the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, done at Geneva July 28, 1951, the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees done at Geneva July 28, 1951, and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York December 10, 1984. If, acting jointly, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State find that the Government of the Commonwealth is not in compliance with such international agreements, section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1158) regarding asylum shall apply to persons present in the Commonwealth.

(B)

Regulations and report

The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to promulgate regulations for the monitoring and supervision of the Commonwealth’s refugee protection program, including the establishment of standards for compliance and noncompliance, and shall report annually to Congress as a part of the report submitted under section 3(g) of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act on the performance of the Commonwealth in meeting these obligations.

(b)

Numerical limitations for nonimmigrant workers

An alien, if otherwise qualified, may seek admission to the Commonwealth on or after the transition program effective date as a nonimmigrant worker under section 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)) without counting against the numerical limitations set forth in section 214(g) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)).

(c)

Immigrants

(1)

In general

With the exception of immediate relatives (as defined in section 201(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(2)) and aliens granted an immigrant visa as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, no alien shall be granted initial admission as a lawful permanent resident of the United States at a port of entry in the Commonwealth, or a port of entry in Guam for the purpose of immigrating to the Commonwealth.

(2)

Family-sponsored immigrant visas

For any fiscal year during which the transition program will be in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security, after consultation with the Governor of the Commonwealth, and in consultation with the heads of the appropriate agencies and departments of the United States, may establish a specific number of additional initial admissions as family-sponsored immigrants at a port of entry in the Commonwealth, or at a port of entry in Guam for the purpose of immigrating to the Commonwealth, pursuant to sections 202 and 203(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1152 and 1153(a)).

(3)

Employment-based visas

If the Secretary of Labor, after consultation with the Governor of the Commonwealth and the Secretary of Homeland Security, finds that exceptional circumstances exist with respect to the inability of employers in the Commonwealth to obtain sufficient work-authorized labor, in addition to the Commonwealth-only transitional workers authorized under section 103(d), the Secretary of Homeland Security may establish a specific number of employment-based visas that will not count against the numerical limitations under section 203(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)). The labor certification requirements of section 212(a)(5) of that Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)) shall not apply to an alien seeking immigration benefits under this subsection. An alien granted an employment-based visa under this paragraph may be admitted initially at a port of entry in the Commonwealth, or at a port of entry in Guam for the purpose of immigrating to the Commonwealth, as a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

(d)

Nonimmigrant investor visas

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding the treaty requirements in section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)), during the transition period, the Secretary of Homeland Security may, upon the application of an alien, classify an alien as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(ii)) if the alien—

(A)

has been admitted to the Commonwealth in long-term investor status under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth before the transition program effective date;

(B)

has continuously maintained residence in the Commonwealth under long-term investor status;

(C)

is otherwise admissible; and

(D)

maintains the investment or investments that formed the basis for such long-term investor status.

(2)

Requirement for regulations

Not later than 180 days after the transition program effective date, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall publish regulations in the Federal Register to implement this subsection.

(3)

Interim procedures

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall treat an alien who meets the requirements of paragraph (1) as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(ii)) until the regulations implementing this subsection are published.

(e)

Persons lawfully admitted under the Commonwealth immigration law

(1)

Prohibition on removal

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), no alien who is lawfully present in the Commonwealth pursuant to the immigration laws of the Commonwealth on the transition program effective date shall be removed from the United States on the grounds that such alien's presence in the Commonwealth is in violation of subparagraph 212(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)), until the earlier of the date—

(i)

of the completion of the period of the alien's admission under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth; or

(ii)

that is 2 years after the transition program effective date.

(B)

Limitations

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent or limit the removal under subparagraph 212(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)) of such an alien at any time, if the alien entered the Commonwealth after the date of enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, and the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that the alien entered the Commonwealth in violation of this section.

(2)

Employment authorization

An alien who is lawfully present and authorized to be employed in the Commonwealth pursuant to the immigration laws of the Commonwealth on the transition program effective date shall be considered authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be employed in the Commonwealth until the earlier of the date—

(A)

of expiration of the alien's employment authorization under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth; or

(B)

that is 2 years after the transition program effective date.

(f)

Effect on other laws

The provisions of this section and of the immigration laws, as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17)), shall, on the transition program effective date, supersede and replace all laws, provisions, or programs of the Commonwealth relating to the admission of aliens and the removal of aliens from the Commonwealth.

(g)

Accrual of time for purposes of Section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

No time that an alien is present in the Commonwealth in violation of the immigration laws of the Commonwealth shall be counted for purposes of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(9)(B)).

(h)

One-time nonimmigrant provision for certain long-term employees

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall grant lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States to all eligible aliens and their spouses and children, as described in this subsection. The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to promulgate regulations to give effect to this subsection.

(2)

Certification

Not later than the transition program effective date, the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Labor, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, shall certify as eligible those workers who have applied and who satisfy the criteria to receive nonimmigrant status under this subsection. Each such alien shall—

(A)

have continually resided, except for brief absences, in the Commonwealth for at least the 5 years prior to enactment of this Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act;

(B)

have legal immigration status within the Commonwealth on the date of enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, continuing with no lapse in lawful status until the alien’s application is approved; and

(C)

shall submit a complete application establishing the alien's eligibility, pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act.

(3)

Issuance

(A)

In general

The Secretary of State shall establish and issue an appropriate visa to each applicant granted lawful nonimmigrant status under paragraph (1) of this subsection after the date of the enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act.

(B)

Renewal

Lawful nonimmigrant status granted under this section shall be renewable every 5 years.

(C)

Report to Congress

During the fourth year after the date of the enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall report to Congress in the President’s annual report submitted to Congress and during the fifth year after such date of enactment the Secretary of Homeland Security shall report to Congress under subsection (g) of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, on the status of those persons holding the visas authorized under this subsection residing in Guam, the Commonwealth, and the United States, and shall provide recommendations concerning the future status of such nonimmigrants.

(4)

Status

(A)

In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law and subject to subparagraph (B), each applicant selected under paragraph (2) may enter into, lawfully engage in occupations, and establish residence as a nonimmigrant in the United States and its territories and possessions without regard to paragraphs (5) and (7)(B)(i)(II) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)).

(B)

Eligibility for status

An applicant is ineligible for status under subparagraph (A) or renewal of such status unless and until the applicant—

(i)

passes a background check establishing that the worker is not ineligible on criminal and related grounds under paragraph (2) of section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)) or security and related grounds set out in paragraph (3) of such section 212(a);

(ii)

submits to a medical examination establishing that the applicant is not ineligible under the health-related criteria set out in paragraph (1) of such section 212(a); and

(iii)

is otherwise admissible to the United States under such section 212(a), except as provided in subparagraph (A).

(i)

Statutory construction

Nothing in this section may be construed to count the issuance of any visa to an alien, or the grant of any admission of an alien, under this section toward any numerical limitation contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).

.

(b)

Waiver of requirements for nonimmigrant visitors

(1)

Waiver of requirements for nonimmigrant visitors

Section 212(l) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(l)) is amended—

(A)

in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A)—

(i)

by striking stay on Guam, and inserting stay on Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;

(ii)

by inserting a total of after exceed; and

(iii)

by striking after consultation with the Governor of Guam, and inserting after consultation with the Governor of Guam or the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,;

(B)

in paragraph (1)(A), by striking on Guam,, and inserting on Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;;

(C)

in paragraph (2)(A), by striking into Guam,, and inserting into Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;;

(D)

in paragraph (3), by inserting or the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands after Government of Guam; and

(E)

by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(4)

In the case of an alien applying for admission as a nonimmigrant visitor for business or pleasure into the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands the following shall apply:

(A)

The Secretary of Homeland Security may require that the alien, or a representative of such alien, post a bond that will be returned to such alien or representative upon the alien’s departure in accordance with this subsection.

(B)

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall monitor the admission of nonimmigrant visitors to the Commonwealth under this subsection. If the Secretary determines that such admissions have resulted in an unacceptable number of visitors from a country remaining unlawfully in the Commonwealth or that visitors from a country pose a risk to law enforcement or security of the Commonwealth or of the United States or an unacceptable number of visitors from a country seek refugee protection under the Commonwealth’s refugee protection program, the Secretary shall suspend admission under this subsection for nationals of such country.

(C)

All necessary regulations to implement this subsection shall be promulgated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of State, not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act. The promulgation of such regulations shall be considered a foreign affairs function for purposes of section 553(a) of title 5, United States Code.

(D)

At a minimum, such regulations should include—

(i)

provisions for a Northern Mariana Islands-Only Visa Waiver of 30 days duration;

(ii)

a listing of all countries authorized to participate in the Northern Mariana Islands-Only Visa Waiver Program, including each country from which the Commonwealth has received tourists during the 5 years prior to the date of enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, unless the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that such country's inclusion on such list would represent a threat to the welfare, safety, or security of the United States, its territories, or commonwealths; and

(iii)

any bonding requirements for visitors from some or all of the authorized countries who may present an increased risk of overstays or other potential problems.

(E)

Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of the Interior, acting jointly, and in consultation with the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, shall establish, by regulation, a schedule for applying some or all the following requirements to the Northern Mariana Islands-Only Visa Waiver Program:

(i)

Electronic travel authorizations.

(ii)

Procedures for reporting lost and stolen passports.

(iii)

Repatriation.

(iv)

Rates of refusal for nonimmigrant visitor visas, overstays, exit systems, and information exchange.

(v)

Any other requirements that such Secretaries determine are relevant.

(F)

The Governor of the Commonwealth may request that the Secretary of Homeland Security add to the list of participating countries in this Northern Mariana Islands-Only Visa Waiver Program. The Secretary may grant such a request after consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Interior and may promulgate regulations with respect to inclusion of those countries and any special requirements the Secretary of Homeland Security, that the Secretary, in the Secretary’s sole discretion, may require prior to allowing nonimmigrant visitors from those countries to enter the Commonwealth.

(G)

The Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands may request that the Secretary of Homeland Security create additional Northern Mariana Islands-only nonimmigrant visas to the extent that existing nonimmigrant visa categories in the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) do not provide for the type of visitor, the duration of allowable visit, or other circumstance. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall review such request, and, after consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Interior, may promulgate regulations with respect to the creation of those additional special Northern Mariana Islands-only visa categories. Such additional special Northern Mariana Islands-only visa categories may include, special visas for foreign students and foreign retirees.

.

(2)

Effective date

The amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act made by this subsection shall take effect on the first day of the first full month commencing 1 year after the date of enactment of this title.

(c)

Inspection of persons arriving from the commonwealth; northern mariana islands-only visas not valid for entry into other parts of the United States

(1)

Removal

Section 212(d)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(7)) is amended to read as follows:

(7)

The provisions of subsection (a) (other than paragraph (7) with respect to an alien who has not been admitted only to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) shall be applicable to any alien who leaves Guam, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Virgin Islands of the United States, and who seeks to enter the continental United States or any other place under the jurisdiction of the United States. Any alien described in this paragraph who is denied admission to the United States shall be immediately removed in the manner provided by section 241(c) of this Act. Nothing in the immigration laws shall be construed to authorize or require any alien who has been admitted to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to a Northern Mariana Islands-only visa or in any other status limited to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to be admitted to or permitted to enter any other part of the United States unless such admission or entry is otherwise authorized by the immigration laws.

.

(2)

Entry into other United States jurisdictions

Persons admitted to the Commonwealth under a Northern Mariana Islands-only visa shall not be eligible for entry into the United States or any of its territories, possessions, or commonwealths without first obtaining an appropriate visa or visa waiver for entry to that jurisdiction.

(d)

Special provision To ensure adequate employment; northern mariana islands-only transitional workers

An alien who is seeking to enter the Commonwealth as a nonimmigrant worker may be admitted to perform work during the transition period (as that term is used in section 6(a)(1) of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976, as added by subsection (a) of this section, subject to the following requirements:

(1)

Such an alien shall be treated as a nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)), including the ability to apply, if otherwise eligible, for a change of nonimmigrant classification under section 248 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1258), or adjustment of status, if eligible therefor, under this section and section 245 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1255).

(2)

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish, administer, and enforce a system for allocating and determining the number, terms, and conditions of permits to be issued to prospective employers for each nonimmigrant worker who would not otherwise be eligible for admission under the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.). This system shall provide for a reduction in the allocation of permits for such workers on an annual basis, to zero, during a period not to extend beyond December 31, 2017, unless extended pursuant to this subsection, and shall take into account the number of petitions granted under subsection (h) of section 6 of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241), as added by subsection (a) of this section. In no event shall a permit be valid beyond the expiration of the transition period. This system may be based on any reasonable method and criteria determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to promote the maximum use of, and to prevent adverse effects on wages and working conditions of, United States citizen workers, including lawfully admissible freely associated state citizen labor, and those granted resident status under such section 6(h).

(3)

Notwithstanding section 703(b) of the Covenant to Establish a Commomwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, the Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to establish and collect appropriate user fees from the employer of such an alien. Amounts collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in a special fund of the Treasury. Such amounts shall be available, and may be apportioned without further appropriation for the purposes of administering this title, and shall remain available until expended.

(4)

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall set the conditions for admission of such an alien under the transition program, and the Secretary of State shall authorize the issuance of nonimmigrant visas for such an alien to engage in employment only as authorized in this subsection. Such a visa shall not be valid for admission to the United States, as defined in section 101(a)(38) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(38)), except admission to the Commonwealth. An alien admitted to the Commonwealth on the basis of such a visa shall be permitted to engage in employment only as authorized pursuant to the transition program. No alien shall be granted nonimmigrant classification or a visa under this subsection unless the permit requirements established under paragraph (2) have been met.

(5)
(A)

Such an alien shall be permitted to transfer between employers in the Commonwealth during the period of such alien's authorized stay therein, without advance permission of the employee's current or prior employer, within the alien’s occupational category to the same or another occupational category the Secretary of Homeland Security has found, pursuant to subparagraph (B) below, requires alien workers to supplement the resident workforce.

(B)

No later than 180 days prior to the expiration of the transition period, or any extension thereof, the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, shall ascertain the current and anticipated labor needs of the Commonwealth and determine whether extensions, in 5-year increments, of the provisions of this paragraph are necessary to ensure an adequate number of workers will be available for legitimate businesses in the Commonwealth. For the purpose of this subparagraph, a business shall not be considered legitimate if it engages directly or indirectly in prostitution or any activity that is illegal under Federal or local law. The determinations of whether a business is legitimate and to what extent, if any, it may require alien workers to supplement the resident workforce, shall be made by the Secretary of Homeland Security, in the Secretary’s sole discretion, and shall not be reviewable.

(C)

If the Secretary of Labor determines that such an extension is necessary to ensure an adequate number of workers for legitimate businesses in the Commonwealth, the Secretary of Labor may, through notice published in the Federal Register, provide for 1 or more extension periods of up to 5 years for each such extension period.

(D)

In making the determination of whether alien workers are necessary to ensure an adequate number of workers for legitimate businesses in the Commonwealth, and if so, the number of such workers that are necessary, the Secretary of Labor may consider, among other relevant factors—

(i)

government, industry, or independent workforce studies reporting on the need, or lack thereof, for alien workers in the Commonwealth’s businesses;

(ii)

the unemployment rate of United States citizen workers residing in the Commonwealth;

(iii)

the unemployment rate of non-United States citizen permanent residents in the Commonwealth;

(iv)

the number of unemployed alien workers in the Commonwealth;

(v)

any good faith efforts to locate, educate, train, or otherwise prepare United States citizen residents, non-United States citizen permanent residents, and unemployed alien workers already within the Commonwealth, to assume those jobs;

(vi)

any available evidence tending to show that United States citizen residents, non-United States citizen permanent residents, and unemployed alien workers already in the Commonwealth are not willing to accept jobs of the type offered;

(vii)

the extent to which admittance of alien workers will affect the compensation, benefits, and living standards of existing workers within those industries and other industries authorized to employ alien workers; and

(viii)

the prior use, if any, of alien workers to fill those industry jobs, and whether the industry is overly and unnecessarily reliant on alien workers.

(6)

The Secretary of Homeland Security may authorize the admission of a spouse or minor child accompanying or following to join a worker admitted pursuant to this subsection.

(e)

Technical assistance program

(1)

In general

The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Governor of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Commerce, and as provided in the Interagency Agreements required to be negotiated under subsection (a)(4) of section 6 of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241), as added by subsection (a) of this section, shall provide—

(A)

technical assistance and other support to the Commonwealth to identify opportunities for, and encourage diversification and growth of, the economy of the Commonwealth; and

(B)

technical assistance, including assistance in recruiting, training, and hiring of workers, to assist employers in the Commonwealth in securing employees first from among United States citizens and nationals resident in the Commonwealth and if an adequate number of such workers are not available, from among legal permanent residents, including lawfully admissible citizens of the freely associated states.

(2)

Consultation

In providing such technical assistance under paragraph (1), the Secretaries shall—

(A)

consult with the Government of the Commonwealth, local businesses, regional banks, educational institutions, and other experts in the economy of the Commonwealth; and

(B)

assist in the development and implementation of a process to identify opportunities for and encourage diversification and growth of the economy of the Commonwealth and to identify and encourage opportunities to meet the labor needs of the Commonwealth.

(3)

Cost-sharing

For the provision of technical assistance or support under this paragraph (other than that required to pay the salaries and expenses of Federal personnel), the Secretary of the Interior shall require a non-Federal matching contribution of 10 percent.

(f)

Operations

(1)

Establishment

The Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Labor may establish and maintain United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Executive Office for Immigration Review, and Department of Labor operations in the Commonwealth for the purpose of carrying out duties under—

(A)

the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.); and

(B)

the transition program established under section 6 of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241), as added by subsection (a) of this section.

(2)

Personnel

To the maximum extent practicable and consistent with the satisfactory performance of assigned duties under applicable law, the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Labor shall recruit and hire personnel from among qualified United States citizen and national applicants residing in the Commonwealth to serve as staff in carrying out operations described in paragraph (1).

(g)

Reports to Congress

(1)

In general

By March 1, of the first year which is at least 2 full years after the date of enactment of this title, and annually thereafter, the President shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report that evaluates the overall effect of the transition program established under section 6 of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241) as added by subsection (a) of this section, and the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) on the Commonwealth.

(2)

Contents

In addition to other topics otherwise required to be included under this title or the amendments made by this title, each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include a description of the efforts that have been undertaken during the period covered by the report to diversify and strengthen the local economy of the Commonwealth, including efforts to promote the Commonwealth as a tourist destination.

(3)

GAO reports

The Government Accountability Office shall submit a report to Congress not later than 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years after the date of enactment of this title, to include, at a minimum, the following items:

(A)

An assessment of the implementation of this title and the amendments made by this title, including an assessment of the performance of Federal agencies and the Government of the Commonwealth in meeting congressional intent.

(B)

An assessment of the short-term and long-term impacts of implementation of this title and the amendments made by this title on the economy of the Commonwealth, including its ability to obtain workers to supplement its resident workforce and to maintain access to its tourists and customers, and any affect on compliance with United States treaty obligations mandating non-refoulement for refugees.

(C)

An assessment of the economic benefit of the investors grandfathered under subsection (e) of section 6 of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241), as added by subsection (a) of this section, and the Commonwealth’s ability to attract new investors after the date of the enactment of this title.

(D)

An assessment of the number of illegal aliens in the Commonwealth, including any Federal and Commonwealth efforts to locate and repatriate them.

(E)

An assessment of the effectiveness of Commonwealth gambling regulations.

(F)

Recommendations for furthering congressional intent under this title.

(G)

Comments on annual reports submitted to Congress by the Commonwealth under paragraph (4).

(4)

Reports by the local government

The Governor of the Commonwealth may submit an annual report to the President on the implementation of this title, and the amendments made by this title, with recommendations for future changes. The President shall forward the Governor’s report to Congress with any Administration comment after an appropriate period of time for internal review.

(h)

Limitation on number of alien workers prior To application of the immigration and nationality Act and establishment of transition program

During the period beginning on the date of enactment of this title and ending on the effective date of the transition program established under section 6 of the Joint Resolution to Approve the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, and for other purposes, approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94–241), as added by subsection (a) of this section, the Government of the Commonwealth shall not permit an increase in the total number of alien workers who are present in the Commonwealth as of the date of enactment of this title.

(i)

Amendment To clarify immigration and nationality Act with respect to time spent in the United States for lawful permanent residents

With regard to persons who have previously been granted United States lawful permanent resident status, and who reside in the Commonwealth, and whose residence may not have fallen within the provisions of section 506(c) of the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America, periods of residence in the Commonwealth, prior to the date of the enactment of this title, shall be considered to have been resident within the United States.

II

Northern Mariana Island Delegate Act

201.

Short title

This title may be cited as the Northern Mariana Islands Delegate Act.

202.

Delegate to House of Representatives from Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be represented in the United States Congress by the Resident Representative to the United States authorized by section 901 of the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With the United States of America (approved by Public Law 94–241 (48 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.)). The Resident Representative shall be a nonvoting Delegate to the House of Representatives, elected as provided in this title.

203.

Election of delegate

(a)

Electors and time of election

The Delegate shall be elected—

(1)

by the people qualified to vote for the popularly elected officials of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and

(2)

at the Federal general election of 2008 and at such Federal general election every 2d year thereafter.

(b)

Manner of election

(1)

In General

The Delegate shall be elected at large and by a plurality of the votes cast for the office of Delegate.

(2)

Effect of Establishment of Primary Elections

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, acting pursuant to legislation enacted in accordance with the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, provides for primary elections for the election of the Delegate, the Delegate shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast in any general election for the office of Delegate for which such primary elections were held.

(c)

Vacancy

In case of a permanent vacancy in the office of Delegate, the office of Delegate shall remain vacant until a successor is elected and qualified.

(d)

Commencement of term

The term of the Delegate shall commence on the 3d day of January following the date of the election.

204.

Qualifications for Office of Delegate

To be eligible for the office of Delegate a candidate shall—

(1)

be at least 25 years of age on the date of the election;

(2)

have been a citizen of the United States for at least 7 years prior to the date of the election;

(3)

be a resident and domiciliary of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for at least 7 years prior to the date of the election;

(4)

be qualified to vote in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on the date of the election; and

(5)

not be, on the date of the election, a candidate for any other office.

205.

Determination of election procedure

Acting pursuant to legislation enacted in accordance with the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands may determine the order of names on the ballot for election of Delegate, the method by which a special election to fill a permanent vacancy in the office of Delegate shall be conducted, the method by which ties between candidates for the office of Delegate shall be resolved, and all other matters of local application pertaining to the election and the office of Delegate not otherwise expressly provided for in this title.

206.

Compensation, privileges, and immunities

Until the Rules of the House of Representatives are amended to provide otherwise, the Delegate from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall receive the same compensation, allowances, and benefits as a Member of the House of Representatives, and shall be entitled to whatever privileges and immunities are, or hereinafter may be, granted to any other nonvoting Delegate to the House of Representatives.

207.

Lack of effect on covenant

No provision of this title shall be construed to alter, amend, or abrogate any provision of the covenant referred to in section 202 except section 901 of the covenant.

208.

Definition

For purposes of this title, the term Delegate means the Resident Representative referred to in section 202.