CNMI House Representative: Chinese Tourists Must Be Screened Thoroughly

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, January 16, 2017) – Representative Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero said Chinese tourists must be screened thoroughly before leaving their country to prevent them from overstaying in the commonwealth.

Guerrero, chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, said that based on a report from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there are between 2,000 to 3,000 overstaying Chinese tourists in the commonwealth.

Some have ended up working in the CNMI, he added.

“I think what should be done is to screen these Chinese before they depart China. When they leave their country carrying six pieces of luggage, that is an indication that they may overstay and seek employment here. Normally a regular tourist will just stay one week, two weeks but not more than three months. That’s one thing that should be looked into by our partners in China, the traveling agencies there that process the papers of Chinese tourists. They should be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to depart and enter the CNMI.”

Variety gathered that the Chinese national who jumped a fence at the Saipan airport after being denied entry by CBP was an overstaying “tourist.”

A source said the foreigner had earlier visited the CNMI as a tourist, overstayed and then departed the island, and that it was when he tried to re-enter the island that he was denied entry.

He was then placed in a holding facility at the airport and tried to escape, but he was captured later and transported back to China that same day, the source said.

Guerrero said CBP is now looking closely at the cases of other overstaying Chinese and working on their deportation.

As of press time Sunday evening, CBP had yet to respond to Variety’s request for comment.

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