Bush Signs CNMI Immigration Bill into Law

By Justin Rood

May 8, 2008 3:55pm

President Bush signed into law today an obscure but important measure which, its supporters say, will help reduce sex trafficking and exploitation of guest workers in a U.S. territory.

Although under U.S. control, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has maintained lax immigration laws in contrast to the mainland.  With help from Congressional Republicans and now-imprisoned superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, CNMI for years successfully fought off legislation proposed to tighten security and improve working conditions on the islands.

The bill Bush signed today extends U.S. immigration laws to CNMI and establishes a guest worker program there.  It was opposed by CNMI’s leader, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.

ABC News "20/20" first revealed disturbing sweatshop conditions for workers in the factories on the CNMI island of Saipan in the late 1990s.

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