Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 1052 (rs) To implement further the Act (Public Law 94-241) approving the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, and for other purposes. [Reported in Senate] %%Filename:...

S. 1052 (rs) To implement further the Act (Public Law 94-241) approving the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, and for other purposes. [Reported in Senate] %%Filename:...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 1052


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           February 15, 2000

                 Referred to the Committee on Resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To implement further the Act (Public Law 94-241) approving the Covenant 
    to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 
   Political Union with the United States of America, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Northern Mariana 
Islands Covenant Implementation Act''.
    (b) Statement of Purpose.--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 
legislation--
            (1) to ensure effective immigration control by extending 
        the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 
        et seq.), in full to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
        Islands, with special provisions to allow for the orderly 
        phasing-out of the nonresident contract worker program of the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the orderly 
        phasing-in of Federal responsibilities over immigration in the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
            (2) to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, potential 
        adverse effects this orderly phase-out might have on the 
        economy of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands by:
                    (A) encouraging diversification and growth of the 
                economy of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
                Islands consistent 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 and other elected officials of the Government 
                of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands by 
                Federal agencies and by considering the views and 
                recommendations of such officials in the implementation 
                and enforcement of Federal law by Federal agencies;
                    (C) assisting the Commonwealth of the Northern 
                Mariana Islands to achieve a progressively higher 
                standard of living for its citizens through the 
                provision of technical and other assistance;
                    (D) providing opportunities for persons authorized 
                to work in the United States, including lawfully 
                admissible freely associated state citizen labor; and
                    (E) ensuring the ability of the locally elected 
                officials by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
                Islands to make fundamental policy decisions regarding 
                the direction and pace of the economic development and 
                growth of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
                Islands, consistent with the fundamental national 
                values underlying Federal immigration policy.

SEC. 2. IMMIGRATION REFORM FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA 
              ISLANDS.

    (a) Amendments to Act Approving the Covenant To Establish a 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union With 
the United States of America.--Public Law 94-241 (90 Stat. 263), as 
amended, is further amended by adding at the end thereof the following:

``SEC. 6. IMMIGRATION AND TRANSITION.

    ``(a) Application of the Immigration and Nationality Act and 
Establishment of a Transition Program.--Effective on the first day of 
the first full month commencing one year after the date of enactment of 
the Northern Mariana Islands Covenant Implementation Act (hereafter the 
``transition program effective date''), the provisions of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) 
shall apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: 
Provided, That there shall be a transition period ending December 31, 
2009 (except for subsection (d)(2)(D)), following the transition 
program effective date, during which the Attorney General of the United 
States (hereafter ``Attorney General''), in consultation with the 
United States Secretaries of State, Labor, and the Interior, shall 
establish, administer, and enforce a transition program for immigration 
to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands provided in 
subsections (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), and (i) of this section (hereafter 
the ``transition program''). The transition program shall be 
implemented pursuant to regulations to be promulgated as appropriate by 
each agency having responsibilities under the transition program.
    ``(b) Exemption From Numerical Limitations for H-2B Temporary 
Workers.--An alien, if otherwise qualified, may seek admission to the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as a temporary worker 
under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality 
Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(B)) without counting against the 
numerical limitations set forth in section 214(g) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 
1184(g)).
    ``(c) Temporary Alien Workers.--The transition program shall 
conform to the following requirements with respect to temporary alien 
workers who would otherwise not be eligible for nonimmigrant 
classification under the Immigration and Nationality Act:
            ``(1) Aliens admitted under this subsection shall be 
        treated as nonimmigrants under 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)(A) The United States Secretary of Labor 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 temporary alien worker 
        who would not otherwise be eligible for admission under the 
        Immigration and Nationality Act. This system shall provide for 
        a reduction in the allocation of permits for such workers on an 
        annual basis, to zero, over a period not to extend beyond 
        December 31, 2009, and shall take into account the number of 
        petitions granted under subsection (i). 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 United States Secretary of Labor to promote 
        the maximum use of, and to prevent adverse effects on wages and 
        working conditions of, persons authorized to work in the United 
        States, including lawfully admissible freely associated state 
        citizen labor, taking into consideration the objective of 
        providing as smooth a transition as possible to the full 
        application of federal law.
            ``(B) The United States Secretary of Labor is authorized to 
        establish and collect appropriate user fees for the purposes of 
        this section. Amounts collected pursuant to this section shall 
        be deposited in a special fund of the Treasury. Such amounts 
        shall be available, to the extent and in the amounts as 
        provided in advance in appropriations acts, for the purposes of 
        administering this section. Such amounts are authorized to be 
        appropriated to remain available until expended.
            ``(3) The Attorney General shall set the conditions for 
        admission of nonimmigrant temporary alien workers under the 
        transition program, and the United States Secretary of State 
        shall authorize the issuance of nonimmigrant visas for aliens 
        to engage in employment only as authorized in this subsection: 
        Provided, That such visas 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 
        the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. An alien 
        admitted to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on 
        the basis of such a nonimmigrant 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.
            ``(4) An alien admitted as a nonimmigrant pursuant to this 
        subsection shall be permitted to transfer between employers in 
        the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands during the 
        period of such alien's authorized stay therein, without advance 
        permission of the employee's current or prior employer, to the 
        extent that such transfer is authorized by the Attorney General 
        in accordance with criteria established by the Attorney General 
        and the United States Secretary of Labor.
    ``(d) Immigrants.--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 persons granted an immigrant visa as provided in 
paragraphs (1) and (2) 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 of the Northern Mariana Islands, 
or a port-of-entry in Guam for the purpose of immigrating to the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
            ``(1) Family-sponsored immigrant visas.--For any fiscal 
        year during which the transition program will be in effect, the 
        Attorney General, after consultation with the Governor and the 
        leadership of the Legislature of the Commonwealth of the 
        Northern Mariana Islands, and in consultation with appropriate 
        federal agencies, may establish a specific number of additional 
        initial admissions as a family-sponsored immigrant at a port-
        of-entry in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, 
        or at a port-of-entry in Guam for the purpose of immigrating to 
        the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, pursuant to 
        sections 202 and 203(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act 
        (8 U.S.C. 1152 and 1153(a)).
            ``(2) Employment-based immigrant visas.--
                    ``(A) If the Attorney General, after consultation 
                with the United States Secretary of Labor and the 
                Governor and the leadership of the Legislature of the 
                Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, finds 
                that exceptional circumstances exist with respect to 
                the inability of employers in the Commonwealth of the 
                Northern Mariana Islands to obtain sufficient work-
                authorized labor, the Attorney General may establish a 
                specific number of employment-based immigrant 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 the Immigration 
                and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)) 
                shall not apply to an alien seeking immigration 
                benefits under this subsection.
                    ``(B) Persons granted employment-based immigrant 
                visas under the transition program may be admitted 
                initially at a port-of-entry in the Commonwealth of the 
                Northern Mariana Islands, or at a port-of-entry in Guam 
                for the purpose of immigrating to the Commonwealth of 
                the Northern Mariana Islands, as lawful permanent 
                residents of the United States. Persons who would 
                otherwise be eligible for lawful permanent residence 
                under the transition program, and who would otherwise 
                be eligible for an adjustment of status, may have their 
                status adjusted within the Commonwealth of the Northern 
                Mariana Islands to that of an alien lawfully admitted 
                for permanent residence.
                    ``(C) Nothing in this paragraph shall preclude an 
                alien who has obtained lawful permanent resident status 
                pursuant to this paragraph from applying, if otherwise 
                eligible, under this section and under the Immigration 
                and Nationality Act for an immigrant visa or admission 
                as a lawful permanent resident under the Immigration 
                and Nationality Act.
                    ``(D) Special provision to ensure adequate 
                employment in the tourism industry after the transition 
                period ends.--
                            ``(i) During 2008, and in 2014 if a five 
                        year extension was granted, the Attorney 
                        General and the United States Secretary of 
                        Labor shall consult with the Governor of the 
                        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 
                        and tourism businesses in the Commonwealth of 
                        the Northern Mariana Islands to ascertain the 
                        current and future labor needs of the tourism 
                        industry in the Commonwealth of the Northern 
                        Mariana Islands, and to determine whether a 
                        five-year extension of the provisions of this 
                        paragraph (d)(2) would be necessary to ensure 
                        an adequate number of workers for legitimate 
                        businesses in the tourism industry. For the 
                        purpose of this section, 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 
                        determination of whether a business is 
                        legitimate and whether it is sufficiently 
                        related to the tourism industry shall be made 
                        by the Attorney General in his sole discretion 
                        and shall not be reviewable. If the Attorney 
                        General after consultation with the United 
                        States Secretary of Labor determines, in the 
                        Attorney General's sole discretion, that such 
                        an extension is necessary to ensure an adequate 
                        number of workers for legitimate businesses in 
                        the tourism industry, the Attorney General 
                        shall provide notice by publication in the 
                        Federal Register that the provisions of this 
                        paragraph will be extended for a five-year 
                        period with respect to the tourism industry 
                        only. The Attorney General may authorize one 
                        further extension of this paragraph with 
                        respect to the tourism industry in the 
                        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 
                        if, after the Attorney General consults with 
                        the United States Secretary of Labor and the 
                        Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern 
                        Mariana Islands, and local tourism businesses, 
                        the Attorney General determines, in the 
                        Attorney General's sole discretion, that a 
                        further extension is required to ensure an 
                        adequate number of workers for legitimate 
                        businesses in the tourism industry in the 
                        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
                            ``(ii) The Attorney General, after 
                        consultation with the Governor of the 
                        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 
                        and the United States Secretary of Labor and 
                        the United States Secretary of Commerce, may 
                        extend the provisions of this paragraph (d)(2) 
                        to legitimate businesses in industries outside 
                        the tourism industry for a single five year 
                        period if the Attorney General, in the Attorney 
                        General's sole discretion, concludes that such 
                        extension is necessary to ensure an adequate 
                        number of workers in that industry and that the 
                        industry is important to growth or 
                        diversification of the local economy.
                            ``(iii) In making his determination for the 
                        tourism industry or for industries outside the 
                        tourism industry, the Attorney General shall 
                        take into consideration the extent to which a 
                        training and recruitment program has been 

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