Focus on federal discretionary parole policies
WASHINGTON – This week U.S. federal officials convened the first meeting with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), led by Governor Ralph Torres, in a formal Section 902 consultations process. The process will be focused on Department of Homeland Security discretionary parole policies that impact the CNMI.
“I was pleased to convene a meeting with colleagues from the Departments of Homeland Security, Labor, State, Defense, the White House, and the CNMI to consider policies that might impact tourism and economic development in the territory,” said Doug Domenech, Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs. “I look forward to helping further the next steps towards a fruitful discussion.”
The 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. In response to a request from CNMI Governor Torres invoking the Section 902 consultations process to discuss discretionary parole policies, President Donald Trump appointed Assistant Secretary Domenech to be the Special Representative on behalf of the United States.
The CNMI, formerly a part of the U.S. administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in the Pacific, last invoked the formal 902 Consultations process in 2016, focused on immigration, labor, and proposed military activities in the CNMI. A report on that process was submitted to the White House in January 2017. A follow-up meeting is expected to be held on Saipan in the CNMI.
The Assistant Secretary Insular and International Affairs and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA supports the Secretary's mission of Fulfilling Trust and Insular Responsibilities through balancing efforts and limited resources towards stronger economic and health capacities, and fiscal accountability in the U.S. insular areas.