15 Sep 2008

Northern Mariana's Governor launches controversial suit to stop federal immigration law change

2:01 pm on 15 September 2008

In a bid to block the pending federal takeover of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' immigration system, the Governor, Benigno Fitial, has filed a much-anticipated lawsuit against federal authorities.

He says the legislation behind the federal takeover threatens to cripple the local economy and breaches the terms of the Commonwealth's Covenant with the United States.

Local lawmakers have already taken issue with the suit, including some who are raising serious questions about the Governor's use of unallocated government money to fund it.

A joint House and Senate committee is expected to release a report today listing a host of objections to the litigation.

The legal action against the US Departments of Homeland Security and Labour, contends that the law President Bush signed earlier this year will violate the promises of self-government and economic development.

It argues that scores of foreign workers and investors in key segments of the local economy are likely to be forced to leave the CNMI under the legislation.