2 Apr 2009

CNMI gets six-month deferral of federalised US immigration law

4:08 pm on 2 April 2009

The US Department of Homeland Security's Secretary has announced that the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas federalisation law won't come into effect on June the 1st but be delayed by six months.

Janet Napolitano says the 180-day delay is the maximum allowed by the law.

The extension means the CNMI will continue to administer its own immigration system until November the 28th.

The proposed joint Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Programme, which excludes visitors from China and Russia, will also not go into effect until November the 28th.

The move comes after Governor Benigno Fitial and other CNMI officials asked for a delay.

Guam's government also voiced its desire to push back six months the implementation of the law.

Our correspondent in the CNMI, Mark Rabago, says Governor Fitial made a number of pleas to put off the change.

"The delay would help the CNMI ease through this budgetary constraints with its problems with finances, and plus borders they need to find money to protect the borders and they have to get their acts together and they have to extend it for another six months."

Mark Rabago.