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USCIS Director Mayorkas Meets with CNMI Governor Fitial

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WASHINGTON — U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas welcomed the Honorable Benigno R. Fitial, Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (the CNMI), to USCIS Headquarters on Feb. 23, 2011. The CNMI is a self-governing U.S. Commonwealth located in the Western Pacific. On Nov. 28, 2009, USCIS and other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components assumed responsibility for immigration administration and enforcement in the CNMI under the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (the CNRA), which extended most provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act and other Federal immigration laws to the CNMI for the first time.

In their meeting, Governor Fitial and Director Mayorkas exchanged views on the implementation of the CNRA. Governor Fitial emphasized his Administration’s priority to foster private sector employment opportunities for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in the CNMI and the continuing critical importance of alien workers to the CNMI, especially in light of severe economic challenges facing the Commonwealth. He brought to USCIS’s attention concerns about unemployed alien residents, and about particular populations of aliens posing humanitarian issues, such as individuals with medical needs. Director Mayorkas emphasized USCIS’s continuing commitment as an agency priority, under Secretary Napolitano’s leadership and working closely with its DHS partners, to implementation of the CNRA in ways that respect the unique situation of the CNMI and its diverse population while remaining consistent with the statutory directive to administer Federal immigration law fully and fairly. The Director also emphasized USCIS’s commitment to ensuring vigorous public outreach to the people of the CNMI regarding USCIS rules, policies and procedures affecting the Commonwealth.

Governor Fitial and Director Mayorkas agreed that it is in the interest of all to foster a close working relationship between USCIS and the CNMI government, with a view toward dispute resolution and ensuring consistent public guidance. Toward this end, the Governor and the Director agreed that they will direct their respective staffs to meet on a regular basis to exchange current information and address quickly and efficiently issues of mutual concern.

For more information and announcements in regards to the CNMI, please visit the CNMI Web page at


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