On April 30, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Senate bill 2739 by a vote of 291-117. This omnibus bill includes a provision to federalize immigration controls in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). President Bush has ten days to sign the bill into law.
CNMI Governor Benigno R. Fitial had no comment on the passage of the bill, which his administration has opposed staunchly.
In an article for the Saipan Tribune, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall, who co-sponsored the House immigration bill that was later incorporated in the Senate bill, said: “For too long, abuses took place in the CNMI and for too long, remedial legislation was hostage in this body. Let this legislation bring forth a new dawn, a start of a new era, and with a delegate to this body, let the voices of the people of the CNMI be heard.”
More on the bill from Guam ‘s Pacific Daily News.