Text: H.R.5550 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/07/2006)


109th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5550


To provide certain requirements for labeling textile fiber products and for duty-free and quota-free treatment of products of, and to implement minimum wage and immigration requirements in, the Northern Mariana Islands, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 7, 2006

Mr. George Miller of California (for himself, Mr. Spratt, Ms. Solis, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Conyers, Mrs. McCarthy, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Lantos, and Ms. DeLauro) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To provide certain requirements for labeling textile fiber products and for duty-free and quota-free treatment of products of, and to implement minimum wage and immigration requirements in, the Northern Mariana Islands, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; table of contents.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Amendments.

Sec. 3. Authority of Customs service to board ships.

Sec. 4. Rate of wages for laborers and mechanics.

Sec. 5. Economic diversification, job creation, and job training program.

Sec. 6. Labor and human rights study; report.

Sec. 7. Effect on other law.

Sec. 8. Study and recommendations on immigration and national security vulnerabilities.

SEC. 2. Amendments.

The Joint Resolution entitled “Joint Resolution to approve the ‘Covenant To Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America’, and for other purposes” approved March 24, 1976 (48 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), is amended by adding at the end the following new sections:

“SEC. 7. Labeling of made in the USA products.

“(a) In General.—A product, including a textile fiber product, that leaves the territory of the Northern Mariana Islands for shipment to any place in the United States or abroad may not have a stamp, tag, label, or other means of identification or substitute therefor on or affixed to the product stating ‘Made in USA’ or otherwise stating or implying that the product was made or assembled in the United States unless—

“(1) each individual providing direct labor in production of such product was paid a wage equal to or greater than the wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.);

“(2) the product was produced or manufactured in compliance with all Federal laws relating to labor rights and working conditions, including, but not limited to, the National Labor Relations Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938;

“(3) the factory or other business concern producing or manufacturing the product does not employ individuals under conditions of indentured servitude.

“(b) Result of Noncompliance Regarding ‘Made in the USA’ Products.—A textile fiber product, which is stamped, tagged, labeled, or otherwise identified in violation of subsection (a) shall be deemed to be willfully misbranded for purposes of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. 70 et seq.).

“(c) Definitions.—For purposes of the section:

“(1) DIRECT LABOR.—The term ‘direct labor’ includes any work provided to prepare, assemble, process, package, or transport a product, but does not include supervisory, management, security, or administrative work.

“(2) INDENTURED SERVITUDE.—The term ‘indentured servitude’ includes all labor for which an alien worker is in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands solely by virtue of an employment contract with a specific and sole employer or ‘master’ who is in control of the duration of the stay of the indentured alien worker in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. If the worker displeases the employer/master, the contract is terminated and the employee must leave the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

“SEC. 8. Minimum wage.

“Section 503(c) of the foregoing Covenant shall be construed and applied as if it read as follows:

‘(c) The minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.), shall apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, except that—

‘(1) prior to January 1, 2007, the minimum wage rate applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be $3.05 per hour;

‘(2) between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007 inclusive, the minimum wage rate applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be $3.60 per hour;

‘(3) between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008 inclusive, the minimum wage rate applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be $4.15 per hour;

‘(4) on January 1, 2009 and at the beginning of every calendar year thereafter, the minimum wage rate applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be increased from the previous wage by the lesser of $1.00 per hour or the amount needed to make the minimum wage rate applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands equal to the minimum wage rate set forth in section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, until the minimum wage rate applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is equal to the minimum wage rate set forth in section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938;

‘(5) once the minimum wage applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands equals the minimum wage rate set forth in section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, it shall increase as necessary to remain equal to the minimum wage rate set forth in such section.’ .

“SEC. 9. Conditions for duty-free and quota-free treatment.

“(a) Conditions.—A product of the Northern Mariana Islands may not enter the customs territory of the United States duty-free or not subject to quota as the product of an insular possession, unless—

“(1) each individual providing direct labor in production of the product was paid a wage equal to or greater than the wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq.);

“(2) the product was produced or manufactured in compliance with all Federal laws relating to labor rights and working conditions, including, but not limited to, the National Labor Relations Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938;

“(3) the factory or other business concern producing or manufacturing the product does not employ individuals under conditions of indentured servitude; and

“(4) the Commissioner of Customs has certified that the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is taking adequate measures—

“(A) to prevent unlawful transshipment of goods that is carried out by rerouting, false declaration concerning country or place of origin, falsification of documents, evasion of United States rules of origin, or any other means; and

“(B) to prevent being used as a transit point for the shipment of goods in violation of any restriction on imports imposed under any provision of law or applicable trade agreement.

“(b) Penalties Against Exporters.—If the President determines, based on sufficient evidence, that an exporter has willfully falsified information regarding the country of origin, manufacture, processing, or assembly of a product of the Northern Mariana Islands for which duty-free or quota-free treatment is claimed, then the President shall deny to such exporter, and any successors of such exporter, for a period of 2 years, duty-free and quota-free treatment for such product.

“(c) Definition.—For purposes of this section:

“(1) DIRECT LABOR.—The term ‘direct labor’ includes any work provided to prepare, assemble, process, package, or transport a product, but does not include supervisory, management, security, or administrative work.

“(2) INDENTURED SERVITUDE.—The term ‘indentured servitude’ includes all labor for which an alien worker is in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands solely by virtue of an employment contract with a specific and sole employer or ‘master’ who is in control of the duration of the stay of the indentured alien worker in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. If the worker displeases the employer/master, the contract is terminated and the employee must leave the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

“SEC. 10. Applicability of immigration laws.

“Section 506 of the foregoing Covenant shall be construed and applied as if it included at the end the following subsection:

‘(e)(1) The provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act shall apply to the Northern Mariana Islands as if the Northern Mariana Islands were a State (as defined in section 101(a)(36) of such Act), and a part of the United States (as defined in section 101(a)(38) of such Act). Such Act shall supersede and replace all laws, provisions, or programs of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands relating to the admission and removal of aliens from the Northern Mariana Islands.

‘(2)(A) The Secretary of Homeland Security may adjust the status of an alien described in subparagraph (B) to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien—

‘(i) applies for such adjustment;

‘(ii) is physically present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on the date such application is filed;

‘(iii) is admissible to the United States as an immigrant;

‘(iv) during the 5-year period preceding such application, has been and still is a person of good moral character;

‘(v) has not accepted or continued in unauthorized employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands prior to filing such application, is not in unlawful immigration status on the date of filing such application, and has not failed (other than through no fault of the alien or for technical reasons) to maintain continuously a lawful status since entry into the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and

‘(vi) establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the denial of such application would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien.

‘(B) The benefits provided by subparagraph (A) shall apply to any alien who—

‘(i) during the 4-year period preceding the date of the enactment of the United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act, was continuously authorized by the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands (pursuant to the immigration laws of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) to enter into and remain temporarily in the Northern Mariana Islands in order to perform temporary service or labor in the Northern Mariana Islands; or

‘(ii) is the alien spouse or minor child of an alien described in clause (i).

‘(C) When an alien is granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence pursuant to this paragraph, the Secretary of State shall not be required to reduce the number of immigrant visas authorized to be issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall not be required to charge the alien any fee.

‘(D) The definitions contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act shall apply in the administration of this paragraph. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall be held to repeal, amend, alter, modify, effect, or restrict the powers, duties, functions, or authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security in the administration and enforcement of such Act or any other law relating to immigration, nationality, or naturalization. The fact that an alien may be eligible to be granted the status of having been lawfully admitted for permanent residence under this paragraph shall not preclude the alien from seeking such status under any other provision of law for which the alien may be eligible.

‘(3)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), paragraphs (1) and (2) shall take effect after the expiration of the 3-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of the United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act.

‘(B) With respect to an alien who, on the day preceding the date of the enactment of the United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act, is authorized by the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands (pursuant to the immigration laws of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) to enter into and remain temporarily in the Northern Mariana Islands in order to perform temporary service or labor in the Northern Mariana Islands (and any relatives of the alien if such relatives were authorized to accompany or follow to join the alien)—

‘(i) paragraph (1) shall apply to the alien beginning after the earlier of—

‘(I) the date on which such authorization expires (such authorization not being subject to extension or renewal by the Government of the Northern Mariana Islands after the expiration of the 3-month period beginning on the date of the enactment of the United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act);

‘(II) the date that is 2 years after the date of the enactment of the United States-Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Human Dignity Act; or

‘(III) the date on which the status of the alien is adjusted to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under paragraph (2); and

‘(ii) if otherwise eligible, the alien may apply for adjustment of status under paragraph (2) beginning on the effective date of such paragraph.

‘(4) When deploying personnel to enforce the provisions of this subsection, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate with, and act in conjunction with, State and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that such deployment does not degrade or compromise the law enforcement capabilities and functions currently performed by immigration officers.’ .”.

SEC. 3. Authority of Customs service to board ships.

Section 467 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1467) is amended by striking “or the Virgin Islands,” each place it appears and inserting “, the Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,”.

SEC. 4. Rate of wages for laborers and mechanics.

No Federal assistance of any kind, including funds made available through Acts of appropriation, may be used for or in relation to any project for construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works within the geographical limits of the Northern Mariana Islands and which requires or involves the employment of mechanics or laborers, unless the project is subject to a contract that contains the following:

(1) A provision requiring that the minimum wages to be paid the laborers and mechanics working on or in relation to the project shall be at a rate set by the Secretary of Labor that is not less than the minimum wage set forth in section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206).

(2) A provision requiring the contractor or his subcontractor to pay all mechanics and laborers employed directly upon the site of the work, unconditionally and not less often than once a week, and without subsequent deduction or rebate on any account, the full amounts accrued at time of payment, computed at wage rates not less than those stated in the contract, regardless of any contractual relationship which may be alleged to exist between the contractor or subcontractor and such laborers and mechanics.

(3) A provision requiring that the scale of wages to be paid shall be posted by the contractor in a prominent and easily accessible place at the site of the work in English and the predominant language of each worker.

(4) A provision requiring that there shall be withheld from the contractor so much of accrued payments as may be considered necessary by the contracting officer to pay to laborers and mechanics employed by the contractor or any subcontractor on the work the difference between the rates of wages required by the contract to be paid laborers and mechanics on the work and the rates of wages received by such laborers and mechanics and not refunded to the contractor, subcontractors, or their agents.

SEC. 5. Economic diversification, job creation, and job training program.

(a) In general.—The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce and Labor, shall develop a program of technical assistance, including recruitment and training, to aid employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in securing employees from among United States authorized labor, including lawfully admissible freely associated state citizen labor.

(b) Funds available.—For each of the first 5 fiscal years beginning after the date of enactment of this Act, $500,000 shall be made available from funds appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to Public Law 104–134 for the Federal-CNMI Immigration, Labor and Law Enforcement Initiative for the following activities:

(1) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR JOB DIVERSIFICATION.—Not less than $200,000 shall be available to reimburse the Secretary of Commerce for providing additional technical assistance and other support to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to identify opportunities for and encourage diversification and growth of the Commonwealth economy. The Secretary of Commerce shall consult with the Government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, local businesses, the Secretary of the Interior, regional banks, and other experts in the local economy and shall assist in the development and implementation of a process to identify opportunities for and encourage diversification and growth of the Commonwealth economy. All expenditures, other than for the costs of Federal personnel, shall require a non-Federal matching contribution of 50 percent and the Secretary of Commerce shall provide a report on activities to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives by March 1 of each year. The Secretary of Commerce may supplement the funds provided under this section with other funds and resources available to the Secretary and shall undertake such other activities, pursuant to existing authorities of the Department, as the Secretary decides will encourage diversification and growth of the Commonwealth economy.

(2) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR JOB TRAINING.—Not less than $300,000 shall be available to reimburse the Secretary of Labor for providing additional technical and other support to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to train and actively recruit and hire persons authorized to work in the United States, including lawfully admissible freely associated state citizen labor, to fill employment vacancies in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Secretary of Labor shall consult with the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, local businesses, the College of the Northern Marianas, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce and shall assist in the development and implementation of such a training program. All expenditures, other than for the costs of Federal personnel, shall require a non-Federal matching contribution of 50 percent and the Secretary of Labor shall provide a report on activities to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives by March 1 of each year. The Secretary of Labor may supplement the funds provided under this section with other funds and resources available to him and shall undertake such other activities, pursuant to existing authorities of the Department, as he decides will assist in such a training program in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

SEC. 6. Labor and human rights study; report.

(a) Study.—The Secretary of the Interior shall conduct a study of the extent of human rights violations and labor rights violations in the Northern Mariana Islands, including the use of forced or indentured labor, and any efforts being taken by the Government of the United States or the Government of the Northern Mariana Island to address or prohibit such violations.

(b) Report.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall transmit to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report on the results of the study required by subsection (a).

(c) Consultation.—Appropriate Federal agencies, local government officials, law enforcement agencies, and nongovernmental organizations active in instituting and protecting human and labor rights may be consulted when conducting the study and preparing the report required by this section.

SEC. 7. Effect on other law.

(a) Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.—The provisions of the amendments made by this Act shall be in addition to, but shall not otherwise modify, the requirements of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. 70 et seq.).

(b) Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.) shall apply in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

SEC. 8. Study and recommendations on immigration and national security vulnerabilities.

(a) Study.—The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall conduct a study to determine security and immigration vulnerabilities in the Northern Mariana Islands. The study shall include a risk assessment of all ports of entry and critical infrastructure, an evaluation of the extent of organized crime in the Northern Mariana Islands, and an evaluation of whether and how to further incorporate the Northern Mariana Islands into the Federal immigration and customs system.

(b) Report and recommendations.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall transmit to the Committee on Homeland Security, the Committee on Resources, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate a report on the results of the study required by subsection (a). The study shall identify and make recommendations regarding legislative, regulatory, and organizational changes necessary to improve coordination among the Federal and Commonwealth entities, to minimize the economic impact of the transition to Federal immigration law, and to enhance the security of the United States and the Commonwealth.

(c) Consultation.—Appropriate Federal agencies, local government officials, law enforcement agencies, and nongovernmental organizations with relevant expertise may be consulted when conducting the study and preparing the report required by this section.