PROPOSAL TO LIMIT FREELY ASSOCIATED STATES' CITIZENS' CNMI STAY

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By Nick Legaspi

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (September 25, 1998 - CNMI News On-Line)---Representative Melvin O. Faisao has introduced a bill to impose limitations and conditions on the privilege of citizens of the Freely Associated States to establish habitual residence in the Northern Marianas.

The Freely Associated States consist of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, whose citizens are allowed to enter and reside in the United States and its territories and insular areas, including the CNMI.

Faisao, through House Bill 11-294, said that for many years citizens of the Freely Associated States have severely strained the CNMI's infrastructure, its public school system, and health delivery and social welfare systems.

He said that while the CNMI has to provide entry and residence privilege to citizens of the Freely Associated States under federal law, the local government has authority to impose limitations and conditions for their stay.

Faisao's bill authorizes the exclusion or deportation of citizens of Freely Associated States who have been convicted of a felony, have communicable diseases, are drug abusers or are offenders, prostitutes or terrorists or who have or may become public charges due to lack of jobs, and who are not full-time students or dependents of gainfully employed citizens.

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