48 U.S.C. § 1806 - Immigration and transition

Cite as48 U.S.C. § 1806

(a) Application of the Immigration and Nationality Act and establishment of a transition program

(1) In general

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

(2) Transition period

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

(3) Delay of commencement of transition period

(A) In general

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

(B) Congressional notification

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

(C) Congressional review

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

(4) Requirement for regulations

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

(5) Interagency agreements

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

(6) Fees for training United States workers

(A) Supplemental fee

(i) In general

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

(ii) Inflation adjustment

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

(iii) Use of funds

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

(iv) Fraud prevention and detection fee

In addition to the fees described in clause (i), the Secretary-

(I) shall impose, on each prospective employer filing a petition under this subsection for one or more nonimmigrant workers, a $50 fraud prevention and detection fee; and

(II) shall deposit and use the fees collected under subclause (I) for the sole purpose of preventing and detecting immigration benefit fraud in the Northern Mariana Islands, in accordance with section 286(v)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1356(v)(2)(B) ).

(B) Plan for the expenditure of funds

Not later than 120 days before the first day of fiscal year 2020, and annually thereafter, the Governor of the Commonwealth Government shall submit to the Secretary of Labor-

(i) a plan for the expenditures of amounts deposited under subparagraph (A)(iii);

(ii) a projection of the effectiveness of such expenditures in the placement of United States workers into jobs held by non-United States workers; and

(iii) a report on the changes in employment of United States workers attributable to expenditures of such amounts during the previous year.

(C) Determination and report

Not later than 120 days after receiving each expenditure plan under subparagraph (B)(i), the Secretary of Labor shall-

(i) issue a determination on the plan; and

(ii) submit a report to Congress that describes the effectiveness of the Commonwealth Government at meeting the goals set forth in such plan.

(D) Payment restriction

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

(7) Asylum

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

(b) Numerical limitations for nonimmigrant workers

(1) In general

(A) Nonimmigrant workers generally

An alien, if otherwise qualified, may seek admission to Guam or to the Commonwealth during the transition program as a nonimmigrant worker under section 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 USC 1 1101(a)(15)(H)) without counting against the numerical limitations set forth in section 214(g) of such Act (8 USC 1 1184(g)).

(B) H-2B workers

In the case of an alien described in subparagraph (A) who seeks admission under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) ), the alien, if otherwise qualified, may, before December 31, 2024, be admitted under such section, notwithstanding the requirement of such section that the service or labor be temporary, for a period of up to 3 years-

(i) to perform service or labor on Guam or in the Commonwealth pursuant to any agreement entered into by a prime contractor or subcontractor calling for services or labor required for performance of a contract or subcontract for construction, repairs, renovations, or facility services that is directly connected to, supporting, associated with, or adversely affected by the military realignment occurring on Guam and in the Commonwealth, with priority given to federally funded military projects; or

(ii) to perform service or labor as a health care worker (such as a nurse, physician assistant, or allied health professional) at a facility that jointly serves members of the Armed Forces, dependents, and civilians on Guam or in the Commonwealth, subject to the education, training, licensing, and other requirements of section 212(a)(5)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(5)(C) ), as applicable, except that this clause shall not be construed to include graduates of medical schools coming to Guam or the Commonwealth to perform service or labor as members of the medical profession.

(2) Locations

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

(3) Report

Not later than December 1, 2027, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives that-

(A) projects the number of asylum claims the Secretary anticipates following the termination of the transition period; and

(B) describes the efforts of the Secretary to ensure appropriate interdiction efforts, provide for appropriate treatment of asylum seekers, and prepare to accept and adjudicate asylum claims in the Commonwealth.

(c) Nonimmigrant investor visas

(1) In general

Notwithstanding the treaty requirements in section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E) ), during the transition period, the Secretary of Homeland Security may, upon the application of an alien, classify an alien as a CNMI-only nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(ii) ) if the alien-

(A) has been admitted to the Commonwealth in long-term investor status under the immigration laws of the Commonwealth before the transition program effective date;

(B) has continuously maintained residence in the Commonwealth under long-term investor status;

(C) is otherwise admissible; and

(D) maintains the investment or investments that formed the basis for such long-term investor status.

(2) Requirement for regulations

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

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