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By Nick Legaspi

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 3, 1998 - CNMI News On-Line)---CNMI leaders have expressed confidence that the U.S. Congress, which remains under the control of Republicans, will continue to block the Clinton administration's proposal to take over immigration in the Northern Marianas.

Governor Pedro P. Tenorio was asked to comment on Insular Affairs Director Allen Stayman's statements that indicated more support for the takeover proposal as a result of the increase in the number of Democrats in Congress.

"I hope the U.S. Congress will also consider the situation that we have at this time," he said. "We are doing everything possible. We try to comply with some of the concerns raised by the Interior Department and the U.S. Congress. I think records will show that we are doing our best.

"Congress has been very supportive in the past and even during the last public hearing Chairman Frank Murkowski was very helpful," Tenorio said. "I understand that the committee would like to see it's about time we have to do something and they also have to make sure that we are doing what we are supposed to do. I think they realized that there are times when the CNMI passes a law, then negates it and passes another law to repeal some of the promises that we made to the U.S. Congress."

In a separate interview Senate Floor Leader Pete P. Reyes said he was not surprised by Stayman's statements.

"I always say this: no matter what we do here, they're still out to get us, so it doesn't come as a surprise to me," he said. "One example is the garment situation where we're willing to support, giving manpower to one or two garment factories, and the reaction of the speaker (Diego T. Benavente) is that we're inviting criticism and problems to ourselves.

"I never believe that because it's always there. Whether we act on it or we don't act on it, they'll still try and I don't know what kind of obsession they have over us but they seem to have enjoyed a great deal the publicity of trying to destroy the commonwealth," Reyes said.

The Senator also expressed hope that the Republicans would continue to support local control of immigration and the minimum wage.

"We have some good friends in Congress and I hope that they recognize that this is a Republican administration, a Republican-controlled Legislature, and I hope that if it boils down to being partisan then I hope that they become partisan because it's survival," he said. "If in the final analysis that's what we need to do, appeal to our Republican colleagues, then that's what we'll do."

©1998 CNMI News On-Line, Northern Mariana Islands For more information call Nick Legaspi or Lewy Tenorio at TEL: (670) 234-7239

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