A federal discretionary parole policies report urges collaboration "to protect economic and security interests for the United States in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands," according to press release.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres and U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Doug Domenech, submitted to the White House the final 902 Consultation Report on Federal Discretionary Parole Policies recommending several collaborative steps forward, the joint release from DOI and CNMI governor's office stated. The recommendations have been approved for implementation because they provide an important opportunity to improve national security while respecting the CNMI economy.
“This final 902 report on discretionary parole policies is the product of positive collaboration between the CNMI and federal partners over the last several months,” Torres said. “The recommendations in this report reflect a balance of national security interests in the Pacific and our islands' economic viability to grow and develop a greater standard of living for citizens here in the Marianas. We are thankful to President Trump, Assistant Secretary Domenech, and all our federal partners for recognizing the CNMI's unique economic challenges and for sharing in our collective goal of stronger borders here in the Pacific."
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“We worked closely with the CNMI government and our federal partners to strengthen and protect our national security interests while allowing for the CNMI to continue to access economic resources and opportunities,” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “Protecting such opportunities is an important component of the Executive Order on Economic Empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders signed in May by the President.”
On Oct. 19, 2018, Gov. Torres sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump invoking the Section 902 Consultation process between the United States and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands regarding proposed discretionary parole policies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the release stated. Super Typhoon Yutu rolled through the CNMI on Oct. 25, 2018, and CNMI requested a delay in the consultation to allow them to focus on response and recovery from the typhoon. On Feb. 26, 2019, President Trump designated Assistant Secretary Domenech as the Special Representative for the United States federal government for this 902 Consultation. The president appointed Gov. Torres as the special representative for the CNMI.
According to the press release, the following recommendations have been made by the special representatives:
1) Modify the parole program with enhanced security provisions;
2) Create a CNMI Economic Vitality and Security Travel Authorization Program or EVS-TAP as a Sub-Program of the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program;
3) Deputize selected state and local law enforcement officers as provided for under section 287 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and find additional ways to collaborate on immigration enforcement; and
4) Elevate focus on the U.S. territories in the Pacific by engaging the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The 902 Consultation process is authorized by Section 902 of the Covenant to Establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States of America, and codified in 48 U.S.C. § 1801, which defines the unique relationship between the CNMI and the United States. It allows for formal government to government consultations on important policy matters.