The United States Department of the Interior has recommended thousands of alien workers in the CNMI be allowed to apply for long-term status under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
A report was submitted to Congress with days to go before a May 10 deadline and applies to people who have lawfully resided in the CNMI for a minimum of five years.
The Assistant Interior Secretary for Insular Affairs Tony Babauta says it is now up to Congress whether to act on the recommendation.
Should Congress accept the recommendation, some 15,816 aliens who have been residing in the CNMI for five years or more will be covered.
They could be granted outright U.S. citizenship by an act of Congress, or permanent residency status leading to citizenship.