Washington D.C. – Following today’s hearing on H.R. 1466, a bill that would provide stability for Northern Marianas families at risk of separation as a result of federal immigration law, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the bill’s sponsor and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs, issued the following statement:
“I am most grateful to Chairman John Fleming for recognizing that there are families in the Northern Mariana Islands who need the help of Congress. I thank the Chairman for scheduling today’s hearing to examine this problem and consider how we can fix it.
“These are families with people born in the Northern Mariana Islands in the four years before the CNMI government came into existence. These are families with people to whom CNMI law gave Permanent Resident status. And these are families of U.S. Citizens with family members who are not yet eligible for permanent status under federal law.
“I am especially appreciative of the other Members of the Subcommittee who took the time to be at the hearing and listen to the concerns of people in the Northern Mariana Islands. Congressman Don Young, Republican of Alaska and one of the bill’s co-sponsors, forcefully urged that the bill be passed. Later in the day Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, Democrat of Hawaii, sent word that as a result of what she learned at the hearing she was signing on as a co-sponsor.
“It was also quite helpful that the Government Accountability Office witness, Dr. David Gootnick, was able to provide an objective analysis of the number of people who will be helped by H.R. 1466, which has been lacking.
“I look forward to working with Chairman Fleming and with the Obama Administration to fine-tune the bill, if necessary, and to get the legislation passed by the House, through the Senate, and signed by the President before any families in the Northern Marianas are separated as a result of federal immigration law.”