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house Bill H.R. 4296

Extending Three Immigration Policies in the Northern Mariana Islands Through 2019

Argument in favor

Improves the economy of the islands by banning political asylum, thereby making sure that tourists can continue to enter the Commonwealth visa-free.

Argument opposed

Leaves some residents of the Northern Mariana Islands in a sort of political limbo, in regard to their immigration status, for another five years.

What is House Bill H.R. 4296?

This bill deals with three aspects of the immigration policy of the Northern Mariana Islands: a fifteen-island chain in the Western Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines.  The Marianas are one of two territories with U.S. Commonwealth status. The other is Puerto Rico. The Northern Marianas are in the process of transitioning from their own set of immigration laws to U.S. immigration laws, a conversion that began in 2009 and was to conclude at the end of 2014. This bill provides some exemptions from that 2014 closure date. 

The first component of the bill would exempt the numerical limit on H visas for workers in the islands. The second component of the bill deals with nonimmigrant investors who have invested at least $50,000 in the islands' economy. This demographic would have another five years to retain nonimmigrant investor status. Lastly, the bill would extend an existing provision stating that no one can claim political asylum in the United States while living in the Northern Mariana Islands for another five years. 


Essentially, the bill slows aspects of the changeover to U.S. immigration laws and policies by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This affects the commonwealth's worker, investor, and tourist populations.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4296

A CBO cost is currently unavailable.

Official Title

To amend Public Law 94-241 with respect to the Northern Mariana Islands.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs
      Immigration and Citizenship
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedMarch 25th, 2014

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