May 22, 2013
The CNMI provision remains secure in the bill. The provision establishes the qualifying date for the eligible legal CNMI aliens a full 3.5 to 8.5 years further back than eligible undocumented aliens. It also calls for eligible CNMI aliens to be granted a CNMI-only status for a full five years before they qualify for a green card. CNMI-only status will allow for travel and the freedom to change employers; however these legal aliens will remain disenfranchised and face more hoops to jump through before ever obtaining U.S. citizenship.
President Obama is urging the bill's passage. He said:
"None of the committee members got everything they wanted, and neither did I, but in the end, we all owe it to the American people to get the best possible result over the finish line."
The immigration bill will face an uphill battle in the more gridlocked and partisan House. Even as President Obama is urging passage of the Senate bill, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlette (R-VA) says that the "bill falls far short of what is needed to end the problem of illegal immigration."