CHINESE RAPE VICTIM BEING DEPORTED BY CNMI BEFORE

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COURT ACTION

HONOLULU, Hawaii (March 29, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---An alien worker who was raped by a Marianas immigration officer is being deported from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) despite the fact that she is a party to a pending civil action in federal court against the CNMI government based on the rape.

A Northern Marianas court found that Gui-Juan Zhang, a Chinese national working as a karaoke waitress on the island of Saipan, was in the custody of CNMI immigration officials for overstaying her work permit, originally as a garment worker, when she was raped by Captain Isidro Cabrera.

Cabrera was sent to prison for the crime and Zhang subsequently filed a civil action suit against the CNMI immigration department, seeking monetary damages.

Meantime, because her work permit had expired, the CNMI has decided to deport her rather than permit her to participate in the civil action suit against Cabrera.

In Washington, Allen Stayman, Director of the Office of Insular Affairs, has protested the action, saying it is "just a further indication that the immigration system in the Marianas is broke, and cannot be fixed locally.

"It is ironic that the CNMI government announced its decision immediately prior to a U.S. Senate hearing (to begin Tuesday) on whether or not the island government should be allowed to continue to control its own immigration policy," Stayman added.

The Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, now determines its own immigration policy. The Washington administration, however, is supporting legislation to extend federal immigration laws to the north Pacific island commonwealth.

Of primary concern to Washington has been the admission of some 40,000 Asian contract alien workers, mostly in the garment industry, whom the federal government has found to be ill-paid and poorly treated. The alien-produced garments currently are permitted to be shipped from the CNMI to the United States duty free and without quotas.

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