Why The Commonwealth Needs To Control Immigration
I often wonder if some in the U. S. Congress think that if U. S. Immigration Laws had been applied in the Commonwealth in 1981 it is very possible that there would be no need for nonresident workers in the Northern Marianas. Had they been applied it is also quite likely that by 1993 the indigenous population would comprise only nine percent of the total population and would continue to decline as a percent of the total in future years. One reason the Commonwealth was permitted control of its immigration was to avoid the possibility of being overwhelmed as a result of United States immigration quotas as applied to Asian countries. It was feared that immigrants entering the United States would select the new Commonwealth as a port of entry to the United States and very possibly a place of residence because of the island’s proximity to their home country. Since 1981, three and one half million people from Asia alone have immigrated to the United States according to the Visa Section of the U. S. Department of State.
If only 5 percent, or 175,000 people, settled in the Commonwealth – THERE WOULD BE STANDING ROOM ONLY. The total population, including the indigenous would be 193,300. Such growth would have resulted in a 1993 increase in population density from 468 people per square mile on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota to 1,635 persons per square mile. An increase equal to about nine and one half times the CNMI’s 1993 estimated indigenous population, (18,300). Considering only immigration to the United States from Asia for the period 1981 thru ‘93, the ethnic composition of the Commonwealth would have changed radically if you except the premise that five percent of the total would stop off and remain in the islands. Using State Department ratios to estimate the ethnic mix, there could have been about: 37,200 Filipinos; 22,900 Chinese; 18,200 Koreans; 18,300 from India; 17,900 Vietnamese; 7,200 from Hong Kong; 3,600 Japanese and 49,700 from other Asian countries or a total of 175,000 people as opposed to only 18,300 indigenous people. It doesn’t take a political genius to figure out that once American citizenship was obtained by this group the indigenous people would lose control of the local government and the society would be far from being homogeneous.
You would have in effect, a miniature continent of Asia squeezed on to three small islands with a combined total land area of 118.2 square miles. At one time United States immigration laws permitted the entry of up to 20,000 aliens each year from every country in the world maintaining a diplomatic relationship with the U. S. when other established criteria was met. A continental land mass as large as the United States is capable of absorbing such large numbers of immigrant aliens. This is certainly not the case of a small island area such as the Northern Marianas In terms of square miles the combined dry land area of the 50 states is almost 30,000 times as large as that of Saipan, Tinian and Rota combined.