12 May 2008

US and Northern Marianas ready to work together on new federalization measures

3:05 pm on 12 May 2008

The U.S. Department of the Interior is ready to work with officials in the Northern Marianas on implementing the newly signed federalization measure, which gives the Commonwealth representation in Washington for the first time.

President George Bush signed a bill into law on Friday which means federal immigration now applies to the Commonwealth.

The measure also grants the Northern Marianas a delegate with limited voting power in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S. Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, hailed the President's approval of the legislation saying the action marks a milestone in relations between the federal government and the Northern Marianas.

Before the President signed the Senate Bill the Northern Marianas had been the only populated U.S. insular area that did not have a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The first election for a CNMI delegate will take place in November this year to coincide with the U.S. general elections.