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By Nick Legaspi

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (January 5, 1999 - CNMI NEWS On-Line)---Insular Affairs Director Allen P. Stayman reported to the U.S. Congress last week that Governor Pedro P. Tenorio failed to solve the immigration, labor and trade problems in the Northern Marianas during a year-long implementation of reforms.

In his fourth annual report on the immigration, labor and law enforcement conditions in the CNMI Stayman also cited the Commonwealth's refusal to even discuss the application of federal immigration and minimum wage laws, although this was provided in the Covenant.

Stayman said that local control of immigration and minimum wage caused the population of the CNMI to explode from 17,000 in 1980 to 60,000 in 1995, with foreigners comprising more than half of the islands' residents.

He said Tenorio's efforts since his election in 1997 did nothing about the three major problems of the CNMI, namely, dependence on foreign workers, full implementation of the immigration takeover provisions of the Covenant and dependence on trade loopholes that allowed Asian garment producers to ship $1 billion worth of clothing to the U.S. duty free and quota free.

President Bill Clinton has sent to Congress draft legislation to apply U.S. immigration and minimum wage laws in the CNMI while Stayman continues to criticize the CNMI's failure to eliminate problems involving foreign workers.

The U.S. Congress, however, has maintained the position that the problems cited by the Clinton administration should be resolved by the local government, with federal government assistance and without taking away local control of immigration and minimum wage.

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

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