Guam – President Obama’s immigration order last Friday is not expected to have much impact on residents of the Northern Marianas.
HEAR Matt Kaye’s report HERE>>>6-20 presimmigimmigord.mp3
Obama’s new policy to give those under 30 who came to the U.S. illegally before they became 16 and completed high school or served in the military, does not cover those who came to the NMI legally.
That’s the understanding of top Insular staffer Allen Stayman who worked on the legislation that federalized NMI immigration.
Stayman: “I think legally, it’s not really relevant, because the President’s addressing children who entered the United States illegally, with their parents. And, in the CNMI, the issue isn’t people who entered illegally. Virtually all aliens in the CNMI are legal, they came there under CNMI law.”
Stayman says on a policy-level the President wants to be sympathetic to those who are long-term members of the U.S. undocumented community. And he says the Administration has already given a reprieve to those who needed to apply for CW permits, and even those covered by Congressman Greg Sablan’s HR 1466.
Stayman: “There are a lot of people in the CNMI, such as those that would be addressed by Congressman Sablan’s bill, who have been members of the community for a long time. And the idea is to treat them sympathetically and adjust their status accordingly. Also, DHS I think, has been making an effort to deal fairly with people and sympathetically with people by granting parole.”
Stayman predicts the “vast majority” of long-stay residents who have jobs will be accepted in to the CNMI-only worker program.
Congressman Sablan declined comment on the President’s order, pending further clarification by DHS.
But his office says H.R. 1466 that still faces hurdles in the Congress, was intended to help legal residents of the NMI, not the handful who may be living in the NMI illegally.
The White House says these people, if they meet the President’s criteria, they can receive deferred action, the same as anyone living under U.S. jurisdiction.