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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Aug. 17 deadline for CNMI long-term resident status

Foreign citizens who have been living in the CNMI under humanitarian parole status and who may qualify for permanent residence have until Aug. 17 to apply for a status change, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan said.

The status change is authorized under Public Law 116-24, also known as the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act, authorized by Sablan.

Public Law 116-24 allows the recipient to live and work legally in the Marianas for as long as they want without the need to apply for any other immigration visa or status

Sablan said the law was written to protect the 1,038 individuals, who had been granted humanitarian parole during the Obama administration, from deportation. The Trump administration announced in Dec. 2018 it would not extend the Obama-era paroles.

Once the Relief Act was signed into law in June 2019, the Department of Homeland Security temporarily extended parole and set the Aug. 17, 2020 deadline for application for permanent resident status.

Sablan advises constituents to be wary of scams and unnecessary “document processing fees” that are being offered to those who hope to be eligible for permanent status.

“Hope and a looming deadline can make us vulnerable to the unscrupulous,” Sablan said. “But, especially at this time when so many people have lost work because of the coronavirus, it would be tragic to spend money unnecessarily.”

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