Collapse to view only § 1801. Approval of Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

§ 1801.
Approval of Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, the text of which is as follows, is hereby approved.

(Pub. L. 94–241, § 1, Mar. 24, 1976, 90 Stat. 263.)
§ 1802.
Consideration of issues affecting relations with United States

It is the sense of the Congress that pursuant to section 902 of the foregoing Covenant, and in any case within ten years from March 24, 1976, the President of the United States should request, on behalf of the United States, the designation of special representatives to meet and to consider in good faith such issues affecting the relationship between the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States as may be designated by either Government and to make a report and recommendations with respect thereto.

(Pub. L. 94–241, § 2, Mar. 24, 1976, 90 Stat. 279.)
§ 1803.
Financial assistance to Government of Northern Mariana Islands

Pursuant to section 701 of the foregoing Covenant, enactment of this section shall constitute a commitment and pledge of the full faith and credit of the United States for the payment of $228 million at guaranteed annual amounts of direct grant assistance for the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands for an additional period of seven fiscal years after the expiration of the initial seven-year period specified in section 702 of said Covenant, which assistance shall be provided according to the schedule of payments contained in the Agreement of the Special Representatives on Future United States Financial Assistance for the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands, executed July 10, 1985, between the special representative of the President of the United States and the special representatives of the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands. The islands of Rota and Tinian shall each receive no less than a ⅛ share and the island of Saipan shall receive no less than a ¼ share of annualized capital improvement project funds, which shall be no less than 80 per centum of the capital development funds identified in the schedule of payments in paragraph 2 of part II of the Agreement of the Special Representatives. Funds shall be granted according to such regulations as are applicable to such grants.

(Pub. L. 94–241, § 3, as added Pub. L. 99–396, § 10, Aug. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 840.)
§ 1804.
Direct grant assistance
(a)
Composite price index adjustments not applicable

Section 704(c) of the foregoing Covenant shall not apply to the Federal financial assistance which is provided to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to section 1803 of this title.

(b)
Additional years of assistance

Upon the expiration of the period of Federal financial assistance which is provided to the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to section 1803 of this title, payments of direct grant assistance shall continue at the annual level provided for the last fiscal year of the additional period of seven fiscal years except that, for fiscal years 1996 through 1999, payments to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands pursuant to the multi-year funding agreements contemplated under the Covenant shall be $11,000,000 annually and for fiscal year 2000, payments to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be $5,580,000, but shall return to the level of $11,000,000 annually for fiscal years 2001 and 2002. In fiscal year 2003, the payment to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be $5,420,000. Such payments shall be subject to an equal local match and all other requirements set forth in the Agreement of the Special Representatives on Future Federal Financial Assistance of the Northern Mariana Islands, executed on December 17, 1992 between the special representative of the President of the United States and special representatives of the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands with any additional amounts otherwise made available under this section in any fiscal year and not required to meet the schedule of payments in this subsection to be provided as set forth in subsection (c) until Congress otherwise provides by law.

(c)
Specific allocations for capital infrastructure projects
The additional amounts referred to in subsection (b) shall be made available to the Secretary for obligation as follows:
(1) for fiscal years 1996 through 2001, $4,580,000 annually for capital infrastructure projects as Impact Aid for Guam under section 1904(e)(6) 1
1 See References in Text note below.
of this title;
(2) for fiscal year 1996, $7,700,000 shall be provided for capital infrastructure projects in American Samoa; $4,420,000 for resettlement of Rongelap Atoll; and 2
2 So in original. The word “and” probably should not appear.
(3) for fiscal years 1997 and thereafter, all such amounts shall be available solely for capital infrastructure projects in Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, except that $200,000 in fiscal year 2009 and $225,000 annually for fiscal years 2010 through 2018 are hereby rescinded; Provided, That the amount rescinded shall be increased by the same percentage as that of the annual salary and benefit adjustments for Members of Congress 3
3 So in original. Probably should be followed by a colon.
Provided, That, in fiscal year 1997, $3,000,000 of such amounts shall be made available to the College of the Northern Marianas and beginning in fiscal year 1997, and in each year thereafter, not to exceed $3,000,000 may be allocated, as provided in appropriations Acts, to the Secretary of the Interior for use by Federal agencies or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to address immigration, labor, and law enforcement issues in the Northern Mariana Islands. The specific projects to be funded in American Samoa shall be set forth in a five-year plan for infrastructure assistance developed by the Secretary of the Interior in consultation with the American Samoa Government and updated annually and submitted to the Congress concurrent with the budget justifications for the Department of the Interior. In developing budget recommendations for capital infrastructure funding, the Secretary shall indicate the highest priority projects, consider the extent to which particular projects are part of an overall master plan, whether such project has been reviewed by the Corps of Engineers and any recommendations made as a result of such review, the extent to which a set-aside for maintenance would enhance the life of the project, the degree to which a local cost-share requirement would be consistent with local economic and fiscal capabilities, and may propose an incremental set-aside, not to exceed $2,000,000 per year, to remain available without fiscal year limitation, as an emergency fund in the event of natural or other disasters to supplement other assistance in the repair, replacement, or hardening of essential facilities: Provided further, That the cumulative amount set aside for such emergency fund may not exceed $10,000,000 at any time.4
4 So in original. The period probably should be “; and”.
(4) for fiscal year 2000, $5,420,000 shall be provided to the Virgin Islands for correctional facilities and other projects mandated by Federal law.
(d)
Resettlement of Rongelap Atoll

Within the amounts allocated for infrastructure pursuant to this section, and subject to the specific allocations made in subsection (c), additional contributions may be made, as set forth in appropriations Acts, to assist in the resettlement of Rongelap Atoll: Provided, That the total of all contributions from any Federal source after April 26, 1996, may not exceed $32,000,000 and shall be contingent upon an agreement, satisfactory to the President, that such contributions are a full and final settlement of all obligations of the United States to assist in the resettlement of Rongelop 5

5 So in original. Probably should be “Rongelap”.
Atoll and that such funds will be expended solely on resettlement activities and will be properly audited and accounted for. In order to provide such contributions in a timely manner, each Federal agency providing assistance or services, or conducting activities, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is authorized to make funds available through the Secretary of the Interior, to assist in the resettlement of Rongelap. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the provision of ex gratia assistance pursuant to section 1905(c)(2) of this title including for individuals choosing not to resettle at Rongelap, except that no such assistance for such individuals may be provided until the Secretary notifies the Congress that the full amount of all funds necessary for resettlement at Rongelap has been provided.

(Pub. L. 94–241, § 4, as added Pub. L. 99–396, § 10, Aug. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 841; amended Pub. L. 104–134, title I, § 101(c) [title I, § 118], Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321–156, 1321–178; renumbered title I, Pub. L. 104–140, § 1(a), May 2, 1996, 110 Stat. 1327; Pub. L. 106–113, div. B, § 1000(a)(3) [title I], Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1535, 1501A–152; Pub. L. 110–229, title VII, § 703, May 8, 2008, 122 Stat. 867.)
§ 1805.
Failure to meet performance standards; resolution of issues; withholding of funds

Should the Secretary of the Interior believe that the performance standards of the agreement identified in section 1803 of this title are not being met, he shall notify the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands in writing with the intent to resolve such issue in a mutually agreeable and expeditious manner and notify the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate. Should the issue not be resolved within thirty days after the notification is received by the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Secretary of the Interior may request authority from Congress to withhold payment of an appropriate amount of the operations funds identified in the schedule of payments in paragraph 2 of part II of the Agreement of the Special Representatives for a period of less than one year but no funds shall be withheld except by Act of Congress.

(Pub. L. 94–241, § 5, as added Pub. L. 99–396, § 10, Aug. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 841.)
§ 1806.
Immigration and transition
(a)
Application of the Immigration and Nationality Act and establishment of a transition program
(1)
In general

Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), effective on the first day of the first full month commencing 1 year after May 8, 2008 (hereafter referred to as the “transition program effective date”), the provisions of the “immigration laws” (as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17))) shall apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (referred to in this section as the “Commonwealth”), except as otherwise provided in this section.

(2)
Transition period

There shall be a transition period beginning on the transition program effective date and ending on December 31, 2029, during which the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of the Interior, shall establish, administer, and enforce a transition program to regulate immigration to the Commonwealth, as provided in this section (hereafter referred to as the “transition program”).

(3)
Delay of commencement of transition period
(A)
In general

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in the Secretary’s sole discretion, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, may determine that the transition program effective date be delayed for a period not to exceed more than 180 days after such date.

(B)
Congressional notification

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall notify the Congress of a determination under subparagraph (A) not later than 30 days prior to the transition program effective date.

(C)
Congressional review

A delay of the transition program effective date shall not take effect until 30 days after the date on which the notification under subparagraph (B) is made.

(4)
Requirement for regulations

The transition program shall be implemented pursuant to regulations to be promulgated, as appropriate, by the head of each agency or department of the United States having responsibilities under the transition program.

(5)
Interagency agreements

The Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of the Interior shall negotiate and implement agreements among their agencies to identify and assign their respective duties so as to ensure timely and proper implementation of the provisions of this section. The agreements should address, at a minimum, procedures to ensure that Commonwealth employers have access to adequate labor, and that tourists, students, retirees, and other visitors have access to the Commonwealth without unnecessary delay or impediment. The agreements may also allocate funding between the respective agencies tasked with various responsibilities under this section.

(6)
Fees for training United States workers
(A)
Supplemental fee
(i)
In general

In addition to fees imposed pursuant to section 286(m) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(m)) to recover the full costs of adjudication services, the Secretary shall impose an annual supplemental fee of $200 per nonimmigrant worker on each prospective employer who is issued a permit under subsection (d)(3) during the transition program. A prospective employer that is issued a permit with a validity period of longer than 1 year shall pay the fee for each year of requested validity at the time the permit is requested.

(ii)
Inflation adjustment

Beginning in fiscal year 2020, the Secretary, through notice in the Federal Register, may annually adjust the supplemental fee imposed under clause (i) by a percentage equal to the annual change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(iii)
Use of funds

Amounts collected pursuant to clause (i) shall be deposited into the Treasury of the Commonwealth Government for the sole and exclusive purpose of funding vocational education, apprenticeships, or other training programs for United States workers.

(iv)
Fraud prevention and detection fee
In addition to the fees described in clause (i), the Secretary—
(I) shall impose, on each prospective employer filing a petition under this subsection for one or more nonimmigrant workers, a $50 fraud prevention and detection fee; and(II) shall deposit and use the fees collected under subclause (I) for the sole purpose of preventing and detecting immigration benefit fraud in the Northern Mariana Islands, in accordance with section 286(v)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(v)(2)(B)).
(B)
Plan for the expenditure of funds
Not later than 120 days before the first day of fiscal year 2020, and annually thereafter, the Governor of the Commonwealth Government shall submit to the Secretary of Labor—
(i) a plan for the expenditures of amounts deposited under subparagraph (A)(iii);
(ii) a projection of the effectiveness of such expenditures in the placement of United States workers into jobs held by non-United States workers; and
(iii) a report on the changes in employment of United States workers attributable to expenditures of such amounts during the previous year.
(C)
Determination and report
Not later than 120 days after receiving each expenditure plan under subparagraph (B)(i), the Secretary of Labor shall—
(i) issue a determination on the plan; and
(ii) submit a report to Congress that describes the effectiveness of the Commonwealth Government at meeting the goals set forth in such plan.
(D)
Payment restriction

Payments may not be made in a fiscal year from amounts deposited under subparagraph (A)(iii) before the Secretary of Labor has approved the expenditure plan submitted under subparagraph (B)(i) for that fiscal year.

(7)
Asylum

Section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1158) shall not apply during the transition period to persons physically present in the Commonwealth or arriving in the Commonwealth (whether or not at a designated port of arrival), including persons brought to the Commonwealth after having been interdicted in international or United States waters.

(b)
Numerical limitations for nonimmigrant workers
(1)
In general
(A)
Nonimmigrant workers generally

An alien, if otherwise qualified, may seek admission to Guam or to the Commonwealth during the transition program as a nonimmigrant worker under section 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 USC 1

1 So in original. Probably should be “U.S.C.”
1101(a)(15)(H)) without counting against the numerical limitations set forth in section 214(g) of such Act (8 USC 1 1184(g)).

(B)
H-2B workers
In the case of an alien described in subparagraph (A) who seeks admission under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b)), the alien, if otherwise qualified, may, before December 31, 2023, be admitted under such section, notwithstanding the requirement of such section that the service or labor be temporary, for a period of up to 3 years—
(i) to perform service or labor on Guam or in the Commonwealth pursuant to any agreement entered into by a prime contractor or subcontractor calling for services or labor required for performance of a contract or subcontract for construction, repairs, renovations, or facility services that is directly connected to, supporting, associated with, or adversely affected by the military realignment occurring on Guam and in the Commonwealth, with priority given to federally funded military projects; or
(ii) to perform service or labor as a health care worker (such as a nurse, physician assistant, or allied health professional) at a facility that jointly serves members of the Armed Forces, dependents, and civilians on Guam or in the Commonwealth, subject to the education, training, licensing, and other requirements of section 212(a)(5)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)(C)), as applicable, except that this clause shall not be construed to include graduates of medical schools coming to Guam or the Commonwealth to perform service or labor as members of the medical profession.
(2)
Locations

Paragraph (1) does not apply with respect to the performance of services of labor at a location other than Guam or the Commonwealth.

(3)
Report
Not later than December 1, 2027, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives that—
(A) projects the number of asylum claims the Secretary anticipates following the termination of the transition period; and
(B) describes the efforts of the Secretary to ensure appropriate interdiction efforts, provide for appropriate treatment of asylum seekers, and prepare to accept and adjudicate asylum claims in the Commonwealth.
(c)
Nonimmigrant investor visas
(1)
In general
Notwithstanding the treaty requirements in section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)), during the transition period, the Secretary of Homeland Security may, upon the application of an alien, classify an alien as a CNMI-only nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(ii)) if the alien—
(A) has been admitted to the Commonwealth in long-term investor status under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth before the transition program effective date;
(B) has continuously maintained residence in the Commonwealth under long-term investor status;
(C) is otherwise admissible; and
(D) maintains the investment or investments that formed the basis for such long-term investor status.
(2)
Requirement for regulations

Not later than 60 days before the transition program effective date, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall publish regulations in the Federal Register to implement this subsection.

(d)
Special provision to ensure adequate employment; Commonwealth only transitional workers
An alien who is seeking to enter the Commonwealth as a nonimmigrant worker may be admitted to perform work during the transition period subject to the following requirements:
(1) Such an alien shall be treated as a nonimmigrant described in section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)), including the ability to apply, if otherwise eligible, for a change of nonimmigrant classification under section 248 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1258) or adjustment of status under this section and section 245 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1255).
(2)
Protection for united states workers.—
(A)
Temporary labor certification.—
(i)
In general.—
Beginning with petitions filed with employment start dates in fiscal year 2020, a petition to import a nonimmigrant worker under this subsection may not be approved by the Secretary unless the petitioner has applied to the Secretary of Labor for a temporary labor certification confirming that—
(I) there are not sufficient United States workers in the Commonwealth who are able, willing, qualified, and available at the time and place needed to perform the services or labor involved in the petition; and(II) employment of the nonimmigrant worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed United States workers.
(ii)
Petition.—
After receiving a temporary labor certification under clause (i), a prospective employer may submit a petition to the Secretary for a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker permit on behalf of the nonimmigrant worker.
(B)
Prevailing wage survey.—
(i)
In general.—
In order to effectuate the requirement for a temporary labor certification under subparagraph (A)(i), the Secretary of Labor shall use, or make available to employers, an occupational wage survey conducted by the Governor that the Secretary of Labor has determined meets the statistical standards for determining prevailing wages in the Commonwealth on an annual basis.
(ii)
Alternative method for determining the prevailing wage.—
In the absence of an occupational wage survey approved by the Secretary of Labor under clause (i), the prevailing wage for an occupation in the Commonwealth shall be the arithmetic mean of the wages of workers similarly employed in the territory of Guam according to the wage component of the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
(C)
Minimum wage.—
An employer shall pay each Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker a wage that is not less than the greater of—
(i) the statutory minimum wage in the Commonwealth;
(ii) the Federal minimum wage; or
(iii) the prevailing wage in the Commonwealth for the occupation in which the worker is employed.
(3)
Permits.—
(A)
In general.—
The Secretary shall establish, administer, and enforce a system for allocating and determining terms and conditions of permits to be issued to prospective employers for each nonimmigrant worker described in this subsection who would not otherwise be eligible for admission under the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).
(B)
Numerical cap.—
The number of permits issued under subparagraph (A) may not exceed—
(i) 13,000 for fiscal year 2019;
(ii) 12,500 for fiscal year 2020;
(iii) 12,000 for fiscal year 2021;
(iv) 11,500 for fiscal year 2022;
(v) 11,000 for fiscal year 2023;
(vi) 10,000 for fiscal year 2024;
(vii) 9,000 for fiscal year 2025;
(viii) 8,000 for fiscal year 2026;
(ix) 7,000 for fiscal year 2027;
(x) 6,000 for fiscal year 2028;
(xi) 5,000 for fiscal year 2029; and
(xii) 1,000 for the first quarter of fiscal year 2030.
(C)
Reports regarding the percentage of united states workers.—
(i)
By governor.—
Not later than 60 days before the end of each calendar year, the Governor shall submit a report to the Secretary that identifies the ratio between United States workers and other workers in the Commonwealth’s workforce based on income tax filings with the Commonwealth for the tax year.
(ii)
By gao.—
Not later than December 31, 2019, and biennially thereafter, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives that identifies the ratio between United States workers and other workers in the Commonwealth’s workforce during each of the previous 5 calendar years.
(D)
Petition; issuance of permits.—
(i)
Submission.—
A prospective employer may submit a petition for a permit under this paragraph not earlier than—
(I) 120 days before the date on which the prospective employer needs the beneficiary’s services; or(II) if the petition is for the renewal of an existing permit, not earlier than 180 days before the expiration of such permit.
(ii)
Employment verification.—
The Secretary shall establish a system for each employer of a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker to submit a semiannual report to the Secretary and the Secretary of Labor that provides evidence to verify the continuing employment and payment of such worker under the terms and conditions set forth in the permit petition that the employer filed on behalf of such worker.
(iii)
Revocation.—
(I)
In general.—
The Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may revoke a permit approved under this paragraph for good cause, including if—
(aa) the employer fails to maintain the continuous employment of the subject worker, fails to pay the subject worker, fails to timely file a semiannual report required under this paragraph, commits any other violation of the terms and conditions of employment, or otherwise ceases to operate as a legitimate business (as defined in clause (iv)(II));(bb) the beneficiary of such petition does not apply for admission to the Commonwealth by the date that is 10 days after the period of petition validity begins, if the employer has requested consular processing; or(cc) the employer fails to provide a former, current, or prospective Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker, not later than 21 business days after receiving a written request from such worker, with the original (or a certified copy of the original) of all petitions, notices, and other written communication related to the worker (other than sensitive financial or proprietary information of the employer, which may be redacted) that has been exchanged between the employer and the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, or any other Federal agency or department.(II)
Reallocation of revoked petition.—
Notwithstanding subparagraph (C), for each permit revoked under subclause (I) in a fiscal year, an additional permit shall be made available for use in the subsequent fiscal year.
(iv)
Legitimate business.—
(I)
In general.—
A permit may not be approved for a prospective employer that is not a legitimate business.(II)
Defined term.—
In this clause, the term “legitimate business” means a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking that the Secretary, in the Secretary’s sole discretion, determines—
(aa) produces services or goods for profit, or is a governmental, charitable, or other validly recognized nonprofit entity;(bb) meets applicable legal requirements for doing business in the Commonwealth;(cc) has substantially complied with wage and hour laws, occupational safety and health requirements, and all other Federal, Commonwealth, and local requirements related to employment during the preceding 5 years;(dd) does not directly or indirectly engage in, or knowingly benefit from, prostitution, human trafficking, or any other activity that is illegal under Federal, Commonwealth, or local law;(ee) is a participant in good standing in the E-Verify program;(ff) does not have, as an owner, investor, manager, operator, or person meaningfully involved with the undertaking, any individual who has been the owner, investor, manager, operator, or otherwise meaningfully involved with an undertaking that does not comply with item (cc) or (dd), or is the agent of such an individual; and(gg) is not a successor in interest to an undertaking that does not comply with item (cc) or (dd).
(v)
Construction occupations.—
A permit for Construction and Extraction Occupations (as defined by the Department of Labor as Standard Occupational Classification Group 47–0000) may not be issued for any worker other than a worker described in paragraph (7)(B).
(E)
Typhoon recovery.—
(i)
Permits for construction workers.—
Notwithstanding any numerical cap set forth in subparagraph (B) for each of fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall increase by 3,000, for each such fiscal year, the total number of permits available under this subsection for Construction and Extraction Occupations (as defined by the Department of Labor as Standard Occupational Classification Group 47–0000).
(ii)
Permit requirements.—
The Secretary may only issue a permit made available under clause (i) to a prospective employer if the permit is for an alien who—
(I) is a national of a country designated eligible to participate in the program under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b)) during calendar year 2018; and(II) is performing service or labor pursuant to a contract or subcontract for construction, repairs, renovations, or facility services directly connected to, or associated with recovery from a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 5122 of title 42), or for preparation for a future disaster or emergency.
(iii)
Exception for construction workers.—
Subparagraph (D)(v) shall not apply to a permit made available under clause (i) for any fiscal year described in such clause.
(4) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall set the conditions for admission of such an alien under the transition program, and the Secretary of State shall authorize the issuance of nonimmigrant visas for such an alien. Such a visa shall not be valid for admission to the United States, as defined in section 101(a)(38) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(38)), except admission to the Commonwealth or to Guam for the purpose of transit only. An alien admitted to the Commonwealth on the basis of such a visa shall be permitted to engage in employment only as authorized pursuant to the transition program.
(5) Such an alien shall be permitted to transfer between employers in the Commonwealth during the period of such alien’s authorized stay therein, without permission of the employee’s current or prior employer, within the alien’s occupational category or another occupational category the Secretary of Homeland Security has found requires alien workers to supplement the resident workforce. Approval of a petition filed by the new employer with a start date within the same fiscal year as the current permit shall not count against the numerical limitation for that period.
(6) The Secretary of Homeland Security may authorize the admission of a spouse or minor child accompanying or following to join a worker admitted pursuant to this subsection.
(7)
Requirement to remain outside of the united states.—
(A)
In general.—
Except as provided in subparagraph (B)—
(i)
a permit for a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker—
(I) shall remain valid for a period that may not exceed 1 year; and(II) may be renewed for not more than two consecutive, 1-year periods; and
(ii) at the expiration of the second renewal period, an alien may not again be eligible for such a permit until after the alien has remained outside of the United States for a continuous period of at least 30 days prior to the submission of a renewal petition on their behalf.
(B)
Long-term workers.—
An alien who was admitted to the Commonwealth as a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker during fiscal year 2015, and during every subsequent fiscal year beginning before July 24, 2018, may receive a permit for a Commonwealth Only Transitional Worker that is valid for a period that may not exceed 3 years and may be renewed for additional 3-year periods during the transition period. A permit issued under this subparagraph shall be counted toward the numerical cap for each fiscal year within the period of petition validity.
(e)
Persons lawfully admitted under the Commonwealth immigration law
(1)
Prohibition on removal
(A)
In general
Subject to subparagraph (B), no alien who is lawfully present in the Commonwealth pursuant to the immigration laws of the Commonwealth on the transition program effective date shall be removed from the United States on the grounds that such alien’s presence in the Commonwealth is in violation of section 212(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)), until the earlier of the date—
(i) of the completion of the period of the alien’s admission under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth; or
(ii) that is 2 years after the transition program effective date.
(B)
Limitations

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent or limit the removal under subparagraph 212(a)(6)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)) of such an alien at any time, if the alien entered the Commonwealth after May 8, 2008, and the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that the Government of the Commonwealth has violated section 702(i) of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.

(2)
Employment authorization
An alien who is lawfully present and authorized to be employed in the Commonwealth pursuant to the immigration laws of the Commonwealth on the transition program effective date shall be considered authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be employed in the Commonwealth until the earlier of the date—
(A) of expiration of the alien’s employment authorization under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth; or
(B) that is 2 years after the transition program effective date.
(3)
Registration

The Secretary of Homeland Security may require any alien present in the Commonwealth on or after the transition period effective date to register with the Secretary in such a manner, and according to such schedule, as he may in his discretion require. Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall not apply to any alien who fails to comply with such registration requirement. Notwithstanding any other law, the Government of the Commonwealth shall provide to the Secretary all Commonwealth immigration records or other information that the Secretary deems necessary to assist the implementation of this paragraph or other provisions of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008. Nothing in this paragraph shall modify or limit section 262 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1302) or other provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.] relating to the registration of aliens.

(4)
Removable aliens

Except as specifically provided in paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection, nothing in this subsection shall prohibit or limit the removal of any alien who is removable under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

(5)
Prior orders of removal

The Secretary of Homeland Security may execute any administratively final order of exclusion, deportation or removal issued under authority of the immigration laws of the United States before, on, or after the transition period effective date, or under authority of the immigration laws of the Commonwealth before the transition period effective date, upon any subject of such order found in the Commonwealth on or after the transition period effective date, regardless whether the alien has previously been removed from the United States or the Commonwealth pursuant to such order.

(6)
Special provision regarding long-term residents of the Commonwealth
(A)
CNMI Resident status
An alien described in subparagraph (B) may, upon the application of the alien, be admitted in CNMI Resident status to the Commonwealth subject to the following rules:
(i)
The alien shall be treated as an alien lawfully admitted to the Commonwealth only, including permitting entry to and exit from the Commonwealth, until the earlier of the date on which—
(I) the alien ceases to reside in the Commonwealth; or(II) the alien’s status is adjusted under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1255) to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in accordance with all applicable eligibility requirements.
(ii)
The Secretary of Homeland Security—
(I) shall establish a process for such alien to apply for CNMI Resident status during the 180-day period beginning on a date determined by the Secretary but not later than the first day of the sixth month after June 25, 2019; and(II) may, in the Secretary’s discretion, authorize deferred action or parole, as appropriate, with work authorization, for such alien beginning on June 25, 2019, and continuing through the end of such 180-day period or the date of adjudication of the alien’s application for CNMI Resident status, whichever is later.
(iii) Nothing in this subparagraph may be construed to provide any alien granted status under this subparagraph with public assistance to which the alien is not otherwise entitled.
(iv)
An alien granted status under this paragraph—
(I) is subject to all grounds of deportability under section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227);(II) is subject to all grounds of inadmissibility under section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182) if seeking admission to the United States at a port of entry in the Commonwealth;(III) is inadmissible to the United States at any port of entry outside the Commonwealth, except that the Secretary of Homeland Security may in the Secretary’s discretion authorize admission of such alien at a port of entry in Guam for the purpose of direct transit to the Commonwealth, which admission shall be considered an admission to the Commonwealth;(IV) automatically shall lose such status if the alien travels from the Commonwealth to any other place in the United States, except that the Secretary of Homeland Security may in the Secretary’s discretion establish procedures for the advance approval on a case-by-case basis of such travel for a temporary and legitimate purpose, and the Secretary may in the Secretary’s discretion authorize the direct transit of aliens with CNMI Resident status through Guam to a foreign place;(V) shall be authorized to work in the Commonwealth incident to status; and(VI) shall be issued appropriate travel documentation and evidence of work authorization by the Secretary.
(B)
Aliens described
An alien is described in this subparagraph if the alien—
(i) was lawfully present on June 25, 2019, or on December 31, 2018, in the Commonwealth under the immigration laws of the United States, including pursuant to a grant of parole under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) or deferred action;
(ii) is admissible as an immigrant to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), except that no immigrant visa is required;
(iii) resided continuously and lawfully in the Commonwealth from November 28, 2009, through June 25, 2019;
(iv) is not a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and
(v)
in addition—
(I) was born in the Northern Mariana Islands between January 1, 1974, and January 9, 1978;(II) was, on November 27, 2009, a permanent resident of the Commonwealth (as defined in section 4303 of title 3 of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Code, in effect on May 8, 2008);(III) is the spouse or child (as defined in section 101(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(b)(1))) of an alien described in subclause (I) or (II);(IV) was, on November 27, 2011, a spouse, child, or parent of a United States citizen, notwithstanding the age of the United States citizen, and continues to have such family relationship with the citizen on the date of the application described in subparagraph (A); or(V) had a grant of parole under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) on December 31, 2018, under the former parole program for certain in-home caregivers administered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
(C)
Authority of Attorney General
Beginning on the first day of the 180-day period established by the Secretary of Homeland Security under subparagraph (A)(ii)(I), the Attorney General may accept and adjudicate an application for CNMI Resident status under this paragraph by an alien who is in removal proceedings before the Attorney General if the alien—
(i) makes an initial application to the Attorney General within such 180-day period; or
(ii) applied to the Secretary of Homeland Security during such 180-period 2
2 So in original. Probably should be “180-day period”.
and before being placed in removal proceedings, and the Secretary denied the application.
(D)
Judicial review

Notwithstanding any other law, no court shall have jurisdiction to review any decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General on an application under this paragraph or any other action or determination of the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General to implement, administer, or enforce this paragraph.

(E)
Procedure

The requirements of chapter 5 of title 5 (commonly referred to as the Administrative Procedure Act), or any other law relating to rulemaking, information collection or publication in the Federal Register shall not apply to any action to implement, administer or enforce this paragraph.

(f)
Effect on other laws

The provisions of this section and of the immigration laws, as defined in section 101(a)(17) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(17)), shall, on the transition program effective date, supersede and replace all laws, provisions, or programs of the Commonwealth relating to the admission of aliens and the removal of aliens from the Commonwealth.

(g)
Accrual of time for purposes of section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

No time that an alien is present in the Commonwealth in violation of the immigration laws of the Commonwealth shall be counted for purposes of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(9)(B)).

(h)
Report on nonresident guestworker population
The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Governor of the Commonwealth, shall report to the Congress not later than 2 years after May 8, 2008. The report shall include—
(1) the number of aliens residing in the Commonwealth;
(2) a description of the legal status (under Federal law) of such aliens;
(3) the number of years each alien has been residing in the Commonwealth;
(4) the current and future requirements of the Commonwealth economy for an alien workforce; and
(5) such recommendations to the Congress, as the Secretary may deem appropriate, related to whether or not the Congress should consider permitting lawfully admitted guest workers lawfully residing in the Commonwealth on May 8, 2008, to apply for long-term status under the immigration and nationality laws of the United States.
(i)
Definitions
In this section:
(1)
Commonwealth

The term “Commonwealth” means the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(2)
Commonwealth Only Transition Worker

The term “Commonwealth Only Transition Worker” means an alien who has been admitted into the Commonwealth under the transition program and is eligible for a permit under subsection (d)(3).

(3)
Governor

The term “Governor” means the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(4)
Secretary

The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(5)
Tax year

The term “tax year” means the fiscal year immediately preceding the current fiscal year.

(6)
United States worker
The term “United States worker” means any worker who is—
(A) a citizen or national of the United States;
(B) an alien who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence; or
(C)
a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau (known collectively as the “Freely Associated States”) who has been lawfully admitted to the United States pursuant to—
(i) section 141 of the Compact of Free Association between the Government of the United States and the Governments of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (48 U.S.C. 1921 note); 3
3 See References in Text note below.
or
(ii) section 141 of the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Government of Palau (48 U.S.C. 1931 note).
(Pub. L. 94–241, § 6, as added Pub. L. 110–229, title VII, § 702(a), May 8, 2008, 122 Stat. 854; amended Pub. L. 113–235, § 10, Dec. 16, 2014, 128 Stat. 2134; Pub. L. 115–53, § 2, Aug. 22, 2017, 131 Stat. 1091; Pub. L. 115–91, div. A, title X, § 1049(a), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1558; Pub. L. 115–218, § 3(a), July 24, 2018, 132 Stat. 1547; Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title X, § 1045(a), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 1959; Pub. L. 116–24, § 2, June 25, 2019, 133 Stat. 977; Pub. L. 116–94, div. P, title IX, § 902, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3197; Pub. L. 116–283, div. H, title XCV, § 9502, Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 4822.)
§ 1807.
Technical assistance program
(1)
In general
The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Governor of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Commerce, and as provided in the Interagency Agreements required to be negotiated under section 1806(a)(4) of this title, as added by subsection (a),1
1 See References in Text note below.
shall provide—
(A) technical assistance and other support to the Commonwealth to identify opportunities for, and encourage diversification and growth of, the economy of the Commonwealth;
(B) technical assistance, including assistance in recruiting, training, and hiring of workers, to assist employers in the Commonwealth in securing employees first from among United States citizens and nationals resident in the Commonwealth and if an adequate number of such workers are not available, from among legal permanent residents, including lawfully
(C) technical assistance, including assistance to identify types of jobs needed, identify skills needed to fulfill such jobs, and assistance to Commonwealth educational entities to develop curricula for such job skills to include training teachers and students for such skills.
(2)
Consultation
In providing such technical assistance under paragraph (1), the Secretaries shall—
(A) consult with the Government of the Commonwealth, local businesses, regional banks, educational institutions, and other experts in the economy of the Commonwealth; and
(B) assist in the development and implementation of a process to identify opportunities for and encourage diversification and growth of the economy of the Commonwealth and to identify and encourage opportunities to meet the labor needs of the Commonwealth.
(3)
Cost-sharing

For the provision of technical assistance or support under this paragraph (other than that required to pay the salaries and expenses of Federal personnel), the Secretary of the Interior shall require a non-Federal matching contribution of 10 percent.

(Pub. L. 110–229, title VII, § 702(e), May 8, 2008, 122 Stat. 863.)
§ 1808.
Operations
(1)
Establishment
At any time on and after May 8, 2008, the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Labor may establish and maintain offices and other operations in the Commonwealth for the purpose of carrying out duties under—
(A) the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.); and
(B) the transition program established under section 1806 of this title, as added by subsection (a).
(2)
Personnel

To the maximum extent practicable and consistent with the satisfactory performance of assigned duties under applicable law, the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Labor shall recruit and hire personnel from among qualified United States citizens and national applicants residing in the Commonwealth to serve as staff in carrying out operations described in paragraph (1).

(Pub. L. 110–229, title VII, § 702(f), May 8, 2008, 122 Stat. 863.)