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By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Mariana Variety, Mar. 7) - A minority senator in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)yesterday filed a resolution urging the United States to "respect" the CNMI’s right to self-government.

Senator Luis Crisostimo, D-Saipan, said if the yet-to-be drafted CNMI federalization bill becomes law, it will remove from the CNMI the ability to control its economic future.

He said the CNMI’s ability to control its labor and immigration system has been the foundation of its economic development.

"The CNMI continues to experience a downward spiral in its economy and any bill in the United States Senate and House of Representatives proposing a complete federal takeover will hamper the CNMI’s economic recovery," said Crisostimo.

He said changes in local labor and immigration laws should be done through mutual negotiations and collaboration.

According to Crisostimo, "the rights of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands to political self-determination and self-government…include the right to control labor and immigration."

His resolution states that the U.S. Congress "will be extremely ill-advised and put at risk the CNMI’s present economic health and future by imposing federal immigration law on the CNMI which will deprive the hotel industry, the (tourism) industry and all future industries of an adequate labor supply."

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