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116th Congress   }                                   {   Rept. 116-373
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                   {          Part 1

======================================================================



 
             NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS RESIDENTS RELIEF ACT

                                _______
                                

January 10, 2020.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Grijalva, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 560]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 560) to amend section 6 of the Joint Resolution 
entitled ``A 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'', having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as 
amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Northern Mariana Islands Residents 
Relief Act''.

SEC. 2. LONG-TERM LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN 
                    MARIANA ISLANDS.

  Section 6(e)(6)(B) of the Joint Resolution entitled ``A 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. 
1806), is amended--
          (1) in clause (iii), by inserting ``except in the case of an 
        alien who meets the requirements of subclause (VI) of clause 
        (v),'' before ``resided continuously and lawfully''; and
          (2) in clause (v)--
                  (A) in subclause (IV), by striking ``; or'' and 
                inserting a semicolon;
                  (B) in subclause (V), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting ``;''; and
                  (C) by adding at the end the following:
                                  ``(VI) was admitted to the 
                                Commonwealth as a Commonwealth Only 
                                Transitional Worker during fiscal year 
                                2015, and during every subsequent 
                                fiscal year beginning before the date 
                                of the enactment of the Northern 
                                Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 
                                2018 (Public Law 115-218); or
                                  ``(VII) resided in the Northern 
                                Mariana Islands as an investor under 
                                Commonwealth immigration law, and is 
                                presently a resident classified 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)).''.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 560 is to amend section 6 of the Joint 
Resolution entitled ``A 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''.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    H.R. 560 amends the Joint Resolution that approved the 
Covenant establishing the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands (CNMI) in Political Union with the United States\1\ to 
provide CNMI-only permanent resident status to the two 
categories of CNMI residents that were not covered by H.R. 559, 
which became Public Law 116-24\2\ on June 25, 2019.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Pub. L. No. 94-241, 90 Stat. 263 (1976) (codified as amended at 
48 U.S.C. ch. 17, https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/
[email protected]/chapter17&edition=prelim).
    \2\133 Stat. 977 (codified as 48 U.S.C. 1806(e)(6), https://
uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title48-
section1806&num=0&edition=prelim).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Covenant to Establish the Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States was 
enacted in 1976 and, in general, applies federal laws to the 
CNMI. However, the Covenant allowed the CNMI to establish its 
own tax laws. It provides that the CNMI is outside of the U.S. 
customs territory. The Jones Act, requiring goods shipped 
between U.S. ports to be carried on U.S.-registered ships, does 
not apply to the CNMI under the Covenant. The Covenant 
initially did not apply federal minimum wage or federal 
immigration laws to the CNMI, but these were later added by 
Congress in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
    H.R. 560 provides permanent resident status in the CNMI for 
an estimated 2,875 long-term workers and 56 foreign investors 
who were originally admitted when the CNMI controlled its 
immigration laws and who were authorized to stay in the islands 
indefinitely. By providing CNMI permanent residency to certain 
long-term workers and giving them the ability to live and work 
in the Marianas for as long as they want, H.R. 560 gives CNMI 
businesses certainty and stabilizes the local labor market to 
ensure positive economic results going forward.
    As introduced, H.R. 560 also would have provided Marianas-
only permanent resident status for over 1,000 individuals who 
had been living in the islands under a temporary humanitarian 
parole program. Last June, Congress enacted these provisions 
through H.R. 559. Accordingly, during markup of H.R. 560, the 
Committee adopted an amendment in the nature of a substitute to 
strike the provisions of H.R. 560 that were already enacted 
into law as part of H.R. 559.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 560 was introduced on January 15, 2019, by 
Representative Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP). The bill 
was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in 
addition to the Committee on the Judiciary. On February 27, 
2019, the full Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on 
the bill. On September 18, 2019, the Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. Rep. Sablan offered an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute, which was agreed to by 
voice vote. No additional amendments were offered. The bill, as 
amended, was adopted and ordered favorably reported to the 
House of Representatives by voice vote.

                                Hearings

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress--the following hearing was used to develop or 
consider H.R. 560: legislative hearing by the full Committee on 
Natural Resources held on February 27, 2019.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      Compliance With House Rule XIII and Congressional Budget Act

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 26, 2019.
Hon. Raul M. Grijalva,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 560, the Northern 
Mariana Islands Residents Relief Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is David 
Rafferty.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

              [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    H.R. 560 would allow certain alien (foreign national) 
workers and investors who reside in the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to apply for CNMI resident 
status, which would enable them to live and work in the CNMI 
indefinitely. Using data from the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) and the Government Accountability Office, CBO 
estimates that about 3,000 alien workers and investors would be 
eligible to apply for CNMI resident status.
    Aliens who qualify for CNMI resident status under H.R. 560 
would not be required to repeatedly renew their immigration 
status during the next decade. Consequently, the fees that they 
and their employers pay to DHS would be reduced. Those fees are 
classified as offsetting receipts (that is, as reductions in 
direct spending) and are available for spending by DHS upon 
collection under current law. Because the spending occurs soon 
after the collection, CBO estimates that the net effect on 
direct spending would be negligible.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is David Rafferty. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goals and 
objectives of this bill are to amend section 6 of the Joint 
Resolution entitled ``A 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''.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                 Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Statement

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           Existing Programs

    This bill does not establish or reauthorize a program of 
the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
program.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

               Preemption of State, Local, or Tribal Law

    Any preemptive effect of this bill over state, local, or 
tribal law is intended to be consistent with the bill's 
purposes and text and the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the 
U.S. Constitution.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                     SECTION 6 OF PUBLIC LAW 94-241


 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.

SEC. 6. 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 the date of enactment of the 
        Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 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 1101(a)(15)(H)) 
                without counting against the numerical 
                limitations set forth in section 214(g) of such 
                Act (8 USC 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 contact or subcontract 
                        for construction, repairs, renovations, 
                        or facility services that is directly 
                        connected to, or associated with, the 
                        military realignment occurring on Guam 
                        and in the Commonwealth; 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).
          (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 the date of the enactment of 
                the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act 
                of 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 the 
                date of enactment of the Consolidated Natural 
                Resources Act of 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 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 the date of the 
                                enactment of this paragraph; 
                                and
                                  (II) may, in the Secretary's 
                                discretion, authorize deferred 
                                action or parole, as 
                                appropriate, with work 
                                authorization, for such alien 
                                beginning on the date of the 
                                enactment of this paragraph 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 the date 
                        of the enactment of this paragraph 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) except in the case of an alien 
                        who meets the requirements of subclause 
                        (VI) of clause (v), resided 
                        continuously and lawfully in the 
                        Commonwealth from November 28, 2009, 
                        through the date of the enactment of 
                        this paragraph;
                          (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[.];
                                  (VI) was admitted to the 
                                Commonwealth as a Commonwealth 
                                Only Transitional Worker during 
                                fiscal year 2015, and during 
                                every subsequent fiscal year 
                                beginning before the date of 
                                the enactment of the Northern 
                                Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce 
                                Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-
                                218); or
                                  (VII) resided in the Northern 
                                Mariana Islands as an investor 
                                under Commonwealth immigration 
                                law, and is presently a 
                                resident classified 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)).
                  (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 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, United States Code (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 the 
date of enactment of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 
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 such enactment date 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); 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).


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