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Federalization should take place in November

By Kristi Eaton

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 10, 2009)—The General Services Administration has announced it is seeking office space to lease on Saipan for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use, one of the recent steps the federal government has made as it prepares to take over the local immigration system.

GSA, an independent federal agency that supports the basic functioning of federal agencies, is seeking about 17,940 square feet in office space and 19 parking spaces for ICE.

A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to give further details on ICE's operations on Saipan, including why the office space will not be needed until December 2010, when the federalization law goes into effect Nov. 28, 2009.

"ICE is continually assessing its operational requirements, but at this point, it would be premature to speculate on specific plans," said Lori K. Haley, spokeswoman for ICE, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, in an e-mail.

The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 will go into effect Nov. 28, extending U.S. immigration laws to the Commonwealth.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services opened an office on Saipan in the TSL Plaza in Garapan.

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