Senate Passes Bill Extending Immigration Laws to Mariana Islands

The Senate today extended U.S. Immigration laws to the Northern Mariana Islands:

Legislation vehemently opposed by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff finally passed the Senate today, extending U.S. immigration laws to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

The CNMI's porous borders had allowed for sex trafficking, exploitation of guest workers and illegal businesses to flourish on the islands, according to the bill's supporters.

Along with Abramoff, there was Tom DeLay: [More...]

Abramoff was paid millions of dollars to lobby on behalf of the CNMI, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and others in Congress had blocked the immigration reforms that passed today, according to Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who has championed the fight for CNMI reform since the 1990s. "Jack Abramoff is now in prison, and Tom DeLay has resigned in disgrace," said Miller.

And, as has been all over the Colorado blogs today, there's former Colorado Rep. Bob Schaffer, who is vying for Sen. Wayne Allard's seat against Rep. Mark Udall.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Glad to see the Dem Congress (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 10:15:18 PM EST
    get this done.  Gives me hope that more of the wrongs of the last 8 years can be righted.

    Go Udall!  If I am lucky enough to move back to CO someday, I'd love him as my Senator!!

    This is great! (none / 0) (#2)
    by splashy on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 02:13:00 AM EST
    I hope it actually goes into effect. Those poor people have been abused enough, especially by the Repubs.

    Just spent a fascinating 1/2 hour or so (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 12:15:08 PM EST
    reading about the CMNI and the whole region.

    Here's some cheery info:

    Poverty Growing In Northern Marianas, Study Finds
    By Agnes E. Donato on Saipan.

    Poverty is increasing in the Northern Marianas, according to a recently released study. The report looked at population trends in the island group from 2000 to 2005.

    The Northern Marianas Department of Commerce, using data from a U.S. Census Bureau survey, said 53.5 percent of the commonwealth's population lived in households with income below the poverty level in 2005. This is an increase from 46 percent in 2000.

    The average income made by each person in the Northern Marianas dropped by nearly one third to $6,178 in 2004. The commonwealth's per capita income was $9,151 in 2000.

    Meanwhile, unemployment soared to 8 percent in 2005, from 4 percent of the labor force in 2000.

    At the time of the survey, 31 percent of employed people worked in the garment industry. Since then, many of the factories have closed due to due to changes in global trade rules.
    The commonwealth government is hoping the data will help its campaign against further minimum wage hikes and a "federalized" immigration system. The Fitial administration believes both plans will damage the Northern Marianas' struggling economy.
    Just what is so great about this Senate Bill?