Tracking Aliens Fitial Style

August 26, 2010

Despite the fact that the CNMI no longer has control over immigration and has absolutely no funds, Governor Fitial announced that the local government is proposing a new local tacking system to better "track overstayers or illegal aliens on the islands, for referral to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for deportation."

This sounds like another ploy for the CNMI to maintain control of the local system -the dysfunctional system that was so broken that the U.S. Congress enacted PL110-229 to apply federal immigration law to the CNMI.

The DOL and AG can't even accept that they no longer maintain control over umbrella permits, now they want to track aliens?

The reasons for the proposal were stated by the Fitial Administration's press secretary as reported in the Saipan Tribune:
“In view of the federal government's refusal to provide this information to the Commonwealth, we had no choice but to amend our Customs regulations to provide the legal basis for obtaining this data in a timely fashion so that it can be used by our BMS [Border Management System] organization to support our local laws,” Demapan told Saipan Tribune.

He added, “Without this information, the Commonwealth would be unable to produce the regular reports regarding illegal overstayers in the Commonwealth [that] are provided to the DHS authorities responsible [for] instituting removal/deportation proceedings against such aliens who no longer are entitled to remain in the Commonwealth.”

Since the federal takeover of local immigration, Demapan said the CNMI has been getting exit and entry information through Customs officers manning the airport exit station and taking the necessary information from incoming passengers as they are processed at the terminal.

The information is then made available to the CNMI's BMS directed by the LIIDS office at the Department of Labor.

Demapan said Gov. Benigno R. Fitial directed this process in order to ensure that the CNMI government has the necessary data to enforce its own labor laws and to continue to have the capacity to identify which incoming aliens have overstayed the permits authorizing them to enter the Commonwealth.

“Nothing that the Commonwealth has done in this regard has interfered in any respect with the ability of the federal government to regulate immigration into, and exit from, the Commonwealth. However, after some months of experience with the new Customs procedures, we became aware of the desirability to find another way to get the incoming information in a more efficient way that would not burden our incoming visitors,” he said.
The GAO Report issued in May 2010 clearly stated that it was the CNMI refusing to share information saying, "DHS efforts to gain direct access to the CNMI’s immigration databases have been unsuccessful, hampering U.S. enforcement operations."

See this previous post: GAO Report Reveals CNMI is Hampering Transition to Federalization for a detailed explanation of the CNMI's effort to block federal access to databases and more.


Anonymous said...

As part of the CNMI's ongoing control of its own customs border, the Commonwealth has every right to collect this data.

Frankly, given the federal government's attrocious record in implementing federalization since the CNRA was passed on May 8, 2008, I am quite pleased that the CNMI will retain this check-and-balance against USCIS and ICE.

I am all in favor of sunshine and open government, and do not want DHS to be able to pull the wool over our eyes. Now ICE won't be able to say they "didn't know" about overstayers if the CNMI promptly reports them.

This type of entry- and exit-control border management that the CNMI acquired expertise in from Australia is something that the U.S. has not yet implemented on the mainland.

Working together we can make a difference!

Wendy said...

"Working together we can make a difference!"

Really, the CNMI is now going to cooperate and share information, provide space at the airport and work out details with the prison? That would be encouraging, but considering the track record, extremely unlikely.

Anonymous said...

The jail situation is incredible. Why bother to track overstays and rub them in ICE's face if you aren't willing to take the time to work out a jail contract?

Anonymous said...

maybe they're going to look for a tunnel where they can send off their partners in crime to scape.

Anonymous said...

calling all govt' workers, you wanna work 32 hrs in your department then the remaining hours to another assignment to look for illegal aliens? well that depends on how many you caught, if nothing then you're not paid, if you found one.. hmm.. unless the Fed deported them then you can claim your price! if not then keep tracking!

Captain said...

Wendy, JFYI,
This is not pertinent to this article, BUT.
On Aug 20th ICE released a memo (pertaining to detained persons)"that any "illegal" alien that was married or related to a US Cit. shall be investigated for any adverse factors, if none found.....they should be released" This does not apply to convicted criminals. (ICE asst Sect John Morton)
I am assuming that "related to a US Cit. includes children" or "naturalized"

Wendy said...

Hi Captain:

I'll publish the memo if I can get a copy. The story is here. I believe the policy is intended to keep families together.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.

Having DHS ICE Detention & Removal Operations (DRO) focus their efforts on convicted criminals seems like a very wise prioritization of resources.

According to the article, the memo refers to those (non-criminal) immigration detainees who have had a petition filed for them, meaning their child must be over 21, if that is the petitioner.

Still, this development offers hope.

And I do hope DRO promptly apprehends, detains, and removes aliens convicted of "serious offenses" present here in the CNMI, and pays a fair market value to the CNMI to rent appropriate jail space.