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United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

February 16, 2010: 

The Honorable Jeff Bingaman:
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: 
United States Senate: 

Subject: CNMI Immigration and Border Control Databases: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

Under the terms of its 1976 Covenant with the United States, the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) administered its 
own immigration systems from 1978 to 2009. The 2008 Consolidated 
Natural Resources Act called for the establishment of a transition 
program, to phase in U.S. immigration law[Footnote 1] in the CNMI and 
to phase out the CNMI's current program for non-U.S. citizen 
(noncitizen) foreign workers; implementation of the transition program 
began on November 28, 2009.[Footnote 2] The act requires, among other 
things, that the CNMI government provide the Secretary of Homeland 
Security all Commonwealth immigration records, or other information 
that the Secretary deems necessary, to assist in the implementation of 
the transition program. 

The CNMI government has tracked the immigration status of foreign 
residents with two databases, the Labor and Immigration Identification 
and Documentation System and the Labor Information Data System. A 
third database, the Border Management System, tracks visitor arrivals 
and departures. We were asked to describe: 

(1)the history and key attributes of the three databases and: 

(2)the status of these databases during the transition to federal 
control of CNMI immigration. 

To address these objectives, we incorporated information from our 
prior work[Footnote 3] and continuing work[Footnote 4] and reviewed 
relevant documents from the CNMI government and from the U.S. 
Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Interior (DOI). 

History and Key Attributes of CNMI Immigration and Border Control 

Labor and Immigration Identification and Documentation System: 

The CNMI developed the Labor and Immigration Identification and 
Documentation System (LIIDS) as an administrative data system to track 
information on individuals who entered the CNMI for employment and 
other purposes.[Footnote 5] In 1995, DOI provided a $1.5 million grant 
to the CNMI to establish an immigration and labor identification and 
documentation system. In 2000, the CNMI government provided an 
additional $377,221 to enhance the LIIDS system to include tracking of 
all individuals entering and exiting the Commonwealth. In 2004, DOI 
approved another grant for $355,000 to upgrade the LIIDS system 
software and to purchase hardware. 

LIIDS contained biographical, employment, and arrival and scheduled 
departure data on all foreign workers in the CNMI. It also contained 
information from applications, processing actions, employer reports, 
temporary work authorizations, labor cases, agency cases, and court 
cases. Following are some of LIIDS's key data input elements (see 
enclosure I for a list of specific LIIDS data input elements and 

* personal information on workers (photograph, name, date of birth, 
citizenship, gender, permanent address, and immigration 

* information about employers (name, industry, and phone number); 

* information about the jobs to be performed by workers for employers 
(job description or occupation, wage type and amount, and address or 

* bond arrangements (company, number, and expiration date); 

* fees paid (amount and receipt number); and: 

* action taken on the applications. 

LIIDS generated the following outputs: 

* entry permit cards for individual workers that contain the worker's 
photo, basic information, island, employer, occupation category, 
immigration classification and application status, date printed, and 
expiration date of the permit; 

* transmittal reports indicating status of applications in the system; 

* reports on individual workers for labor cases or law enforcement 
background checks for individuals detained or arrested; 

* reports on all workers employed by a single employer; 

* standard statistical reports, such as reports on applications 
submitted and permits issued; and: 

* audit reports on system use. 

Labor Information Data System: 

In 2007, the CNMI government revised its foreign worker program and 
the CNMI Department of Labor undertook an automation project to 
replace LIIDS with the Labor Information Data System (LIDS).[Footnote 
6] According to the CNMI's Department of Labor, the Governor funded 
the acquisition of the new system. On February 1, 2008, LIDS was 
brought online, and by July 2008, the system was further revised based 
on staff suggestions. In 2009, two new modules were added to the 
system, covering administrative hearings and enforcement, and the 
system's main module for labor processing was further updated. 
Officials from CNMI's Department of Labor also adapted the software to 
process and issue 19,404 umbrella permits in 2009.[Footnote 7] 
According to a representative of the department, LIDS differs from 
LIIDS primarily in the way that information is gathered: LIDS uses 
scanners to upload information from forms, while LIIDS required manual 
input of information. 

The CNMI Department of Labor's 2009 Annual Report to the Legislature 
noted that some LIDS data on the number of permits issued per year may 
be greater than the actual number of workers present in the 
Commonwealth, because all administrative operations are counted as 
"permit actions" and two or more actions may affect a single worker. 
For example, if a worker's contract is amended and employment is 
extended, two permit actions will be counted in the system. All 
canceled permits are also counted as permit actions. 

Border Management System: 

In 2001, the CNMI government purchased and implemented the Border 
Management System (BMS), an automated arrivals and departures database 
containing data from passports, visas, alerts, and permissions 
(extensions of stay, changes of status, or other modifications of 
entry conditions) as applicable for all persons entering the CNMI. BMS 
data is collected primarily through passport readers when persons 
enter or exit the CNMI at the Commonwealth's airports and seaports. 
The passport readers, in conjunction with the BMS Alert Module, use 
biometric facial recognition to match passport photos with photo 

BMS contains the following key data input elements (see enclosure II 
for a list of specific BMS data input elements and definitions): 

* arrival and departure dates of all individuals transiting the CNMI; 

* individuals authorized to extend their stay in the CNMI; and: 

* CNMI and INTERPOL notices, compiled in an "alert list." 

BMS outputs consist of individual status reports and "overstay" 
reports of individuals who remain in the CNMI longer than authorized. 
According to the CNMI's Department of Labor, the BMS system has since 
been upgraded. 

In 2007, the CNMI computer specialist we interviewed noted that some 
BMS data on arrivals and departures may have been incomplete because 
the system did not capture information prior to 2001. As a result, 
statistics on the duration of visits to the CNMI, based on BMS data, 
may likewise be incomplete. 

See enclosure III for more detailed information about the history of 

Status of CNMI Immigration and Border Control Databases during 
Transition to Federal Control: 

The LIDS and BMS databases have remained in the CNMI's control during 
the CNMI's transition to U.S. immigration law, and as of January 2010, 
the U.S. government's direct access to information in these databases 
had not yet been established. 

On July 1, 2008, a senior DHS official sent a letter to the Governor 
of the CNMI requesting a broad range of documents that included 
information on the current CNMI system for recording and documenting 
the entry, exit, work authorization, and authorized conditions of 
individuals staying in the CNMI. DHS also requested any repositories 
of fingerprints, photographs, or other biometric information included 
in the system. 

On August 19, 2008, the office of the Governor of the CNMI responded 
to the letter by providing an overview of the BMS system, describing 
the security of the system, the data input and output, and the 
immigration system's history in the Commonwealth. The document notes 
that BMS collects photographs through passport readers but states that 
the CNMI does not maintain any repositories of fingerprints or other 
biometric information to share with DHS. 

On September 15, 2009, the CNMI government issued a draft protocol for 
implementing U.S. immigration law that, among other things, proposes 
to allow the U.S. government restricted access to information 
contained in LIDS and BMS, for a fee and in exchange for comparable 
information.[Footnote 8] Specifically, the CNMI protocol envisions the 

* DHS and the CNMI will engage in a two-way data exchange, with DHS 
providing flight entry data and the CNMI providing information from 
its immigration records (LIDS and BMS). 

* The CNMI will provide access to CNMI immigration records that DHS 
formally requests via an appropriate document and within a reasonable 
time frame. 

* The CNMI will consider privacy protections in making information 
available to the U.S. government. 

* The CNMI expects to recover the cost of generating and producing any 
information requested by DHS. 

As of January 2010, the U.S. government had no direct access to LIDS 
and BMS and had no arrangements in place to obtain direct access, 
according to U.S. officials.[Footnote 9] The CNMI government has 
provided DHS access to the information stored in LIDS and BMS on a 
case-by-case basis. CNMI has assigned one point of contact to respond 
to all DHS data inquiries, such as inquiries for verification of an 
individual's immigration status. Since the United States assumed 
control of immigration and border security in the CNMI on November 28, 
2009, the CNMI government has continued to maintain and update LIDS 
and BMS. CNMI Customs officers now collect information to update BMS 
with data on entries and departures from Commonwealth airports and 
seaports. Computers and passport readers, previously used by CNMI 
immigration, have been installed at airport customs inspection 
stations, and data from customs declaration forms are used to update 
the system. CNMI Customs officers also update BMS by gathering 
information from travelers during departure checks that take place 
prior to TSA security screening. 

Agency Comments: 

In accordance with GAO protocols, we notified DHS, DOI, and the CNMI 
government of this study prior to its initiation. We also provided a 
draft of this report to officials in DHS, DOI, and the CNMI government 
for review and technical comment. We received technical comments from 
DHS' Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship 
and Immigration Services (USCIS) and from the CNMI's Department of 
Labor, which we incorporated as appropriate. 

ICE stated in its technical comments that relying on one CNMI point of 
contact to verify immigration status for individuals subject to 
department investigations is insufficient and could compromise 
security for ongoing operations. ICE noted that because DHS operates 
24 hours per day, 7 days per week, the CNMI point of contact cannot be 
responsive to all of the department's needs. ICE officials said that 
it is imperative for the department to have direct access to the CNMI 
data systems in order to perform the department's mission with maximum 

USCIS suggested in its technical comments that pertinent CNMI 
immigration information should be integrated into their existing 
systems: the Computer Linked Application Information Management System 
(CLAIMS 3 and 4)[Footnote 10] and the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant 
Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT).[Footnote 11] In the interim, 
LIDS and BMS databases should be installed as stand-alone systems in 
Honolulu, Guam, and Saipan for USCIS adjudications access. Staff from 
USCIS's California Service Center should also have access to, and be 
trained in the use of, LIDS and BMS. 

The CNMI Department of Labor stated in its technical comments that in 
2007 it retired LIIDS and replaced it with LIDS.[Footnote 12] The CNMI 
Department of Labor referred us to their 2008 Annual Report for more 
information on LIDS. We modified our report to incorporate this 
additional information. The CNMI Department of Labor said in its 
technical comments that the Commonwealth maintains exit data in BMS 
because DHS does not have a digital exit control system that can 
provide immediate information regarding visitors who have departed 
from the Commonwealth. CBP officials confirmed that they conduct exit 
control only for flights to Guam. CNMI officials also reported that 
they quickly supply information on individual cases to U.S. officials. 
A senior CNMI official stated that the Commonwealth's point of contact 
is currently meeting all of DHS's requests. CNMI officials also stated 
that if the point of contact is unable to respond to future DHS 
inquiries in a timely manner, CNMI officials would be willing to 
engage in additional discussions regarding more direct access to LIDS 
and BMS. 

Scope and Methodology: 

We relied on information gathered for several prior GAO reviews of 
CNMI immigration that included analyses of LIIDS and BMS data provided 
by the CNMI government.[Footnote 13] In addition, we reviewed formal 
letters between DHS and the CNMI government, the CNMI protocol for 
implementing U.S. immigration law, and the CNMI Department of Labor's 
2008 and 2009 Annual Report to the Legislature. Finally, in January 
2010, we verified some of the ICE, USCIS, and the CNMI's technical 
comments by meeting with U.S. and CNMI officials in Saipan and Rota. 

We conducted our work from December 2009 through February 2010, in 
accordance with all sections of GAO's Quality Assurance Framework that 
are relevant to our objectives. The framework requires that we plan 
and perform the engagement to obtain sufficient and appropriate 
evidence to meet our stated objectives and to discuss any limitations 
in our work. We believe that the information obtained, and the 
analysis conducted during prior GAO reviews of immigration in the 
CNMI, provide a reasonable basis for our findings. 

We are sending copies of this report to Senator Bingaman and 
interested congressional committees. In addition, the report will be 
available at no charge on GAO's Web site at [hyperlink,]. If you or your staff have any questions, please 
contact me on (202) 512-3149 or For a list of GAO 
staff who made major contributions to this report, please see 
enclosure IV. 

Sincerely yours, 

David Gootnick:
Director, International Affairs and Trade: 

Enclosures - 4: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure I: LIIDS Data Input Elements: 

Until 2007, LIIDS data input elements included information on basic 
identification, employers' background, and labor records for each 
foreign worker. The system also included a photograph of each 
individual and tracked deficiencies and denials of applications. 
According to the CNMI's Department of Labor, in 2007, the Governor 
funded a complete replacement of LIIDS. The Labor Information Data 
System (LIDS), the new system, uses different software and powers an 
automated system. According to CNMI officials, the data input elements 
listed below may not be the same as those included in LIDS. We 
requested data input elements and definitions for LIDS. However, the 
Department of Labor was not able to provide this information because 
of insufficient staff resources. 

Table 1 presents a list of specific data input elements and 
definitions drawn from the LIIDS data collection manual. 

Table 1: LIIDS Data Input Elements and Definitions: 

Basic identification: 

LIIDS no. 
The identifying number provided to the person with authorization for 

First, middle, and last name of the person being identified. 

The date of birth of the person being identified. 

The nationality shown on the passport of the person being identified. 
Only nationals from certain countries enter the Commonwealth for 
employment. These are identified in a drop-down menu. 

The gender of the person being identified. 

Permanent address: 
The address of the foreign national worker in his or her country of 

Employer background: 

The name of the employer as shown on the employer's CNMI business 

Any other name entered by the employer as "doing business as". 

Employer's primary phone contact. 

Emp. prefix: 
The standard industry classification in which the employer's business 

Whether the employer is barred from using foreign workers. 

Date barred: 
The date of the order from the Hearing Officer. 

Notes with respect to the order barring this employer. A bar may be 
indefinite, permanent, or for a defined period of time. The comment 
also typically identifies the case number and administrative order in 
which the bar was entered. 

Labor record: 

Entry date: 
The date on which Labor Processing officer put information into the 
system about the application. 

Application date: 
The date on which the application was received by Labor Processing. 

Application status: 
The application for employment is a new application, a renewal, an 
amendment, a consensual transfer, or an expiration transfer. 

The number of the receipt that was issued when a fee was paid. 

Industry [A]: 
A standard list of industry categories, same as the "employer prefix". 

Employer [A]: The name of the employer that submitted the application. 

Occupation: The job classification within which the employee is 
entitled to work while in the Commonwealth. 

Fee: The amount of the fee that was paid. 

Comment: Notes or comments by Labor Processing personnel. 

Tel. no.: The local contact number for the foreign worker. 

Local address: The local address for service of process and notices. 

Entry date: The date on which the wage and bonding information is 

Wage type: The way wages are paid: hourly, bi-weekly, monthly, 
quarterly, semi-annually, annually, salary. 

Wage rate: The rate paid for an hourly employee and the hourly 
equivalent paid other employees. 

Bond co.: The bonding company holding the bond securing employer 
obligations for this employee. 

Bond no.: The bond number issued with respect to this employee. 

Bond exp: The expiration date of the bond. 

Replacing: Indication of whether the employee is subject to the 
moratorium and is a replacement for another foreign worker in the same 
job classification. 

LIA no.: The limited immunity program number, which is no longer used. 

Exempt and CAP: Categories used for moratorium purposes. 

Comments: Information with respect to wages, bonding, or moratorium 

Island: The place where the employee will be working: Saipan, Rota, or 

Class: The immigration classification of the worker. 

Approval date: The date of approval of the most recent permission. 

Exp. date: The expiration date of the most recent permission. 

Comments: Space for notes about island or class. 

Source: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Data Collection 
Manual: Labor Identification and Documentation System, 2007. 

Note: According to a CNMI computer specialist whom we interviewed in 
2007,[Footnote 14] some data on employment duration may be incomplete 
because LIIDS did not capture data on foreign workers' employment 
prior to 1995. As a result, statistics on foreign workers' full 
employment history in the CNMI, based on LIIDS data, may likewise be 
incomplete. According to CNMI officials, employment data exist as far 
back as 1985 but software vendors no longer support its digital format. 

[A] Some data reported by employers were inconsistent because LIIDS 
lacked standardized data inputs for "industry" and "occupation" 
categories. As of October 2007, such standardized categories had not 
yet been established. However, CNMI officials noted that over the past 
2 years, the following standard codes have been implemented: the North 
American Industry Classification System, which identifies an 
employer's industry, and the Occupational Information Network, a 
system for classifying jobs. 

[End of table] 

[End of enclosure] 

Enclosure II: BMS Data Input Elements: 

BMS data input elements include information on basic identification, 
movement (arrivals and departures), imagery (full image of passport), 
and entry permission. According to the CNMI's Department of Labor, the 
BMS system has been upgraded since we obtained these data input 
elements. Table 2 presents a list of some specific data input elements 
and definitions drawn from the BMS data collection manual. 

Table 2: BMS Data Input Elements and Definitions: 

Basic identification: 

Document country: 
The name of the country that issued the passport. 

Document type: 
Usually a passport; occasionally some other travel document. 

Document number: 
The passport number. 

The last name of the passport holder. 

Given names: 
The first and middle names of the passport holder. 

The citizenship of the passport holder. 

Birth date: 
The passport holder's birth date. 

Personal ID: 
Some governments, such as China, have a national identity card system; 
this field captures that information. This is not a required field, 
and it does not contain U.S. social security numbers. 

Male or female as declared by the passport holder. 

Birth place: 
The birthplace of the passport holder. 

Document issued: 
The date the passport was issued. 

Document expires: 
The date the passport expires. 

The number that uniquely identifies a record in each table. It is 
sequentially allocated automatically by BMS and usually is not visible 
to the user. It is used by the system administrator. 

Link from: 
Passport number used when the passport holder previously entered the 
Commonwealth under a different passport (which has expired, been lost 
and replaced, or indicates a new name due to marriage/divorce/name 


Arrival or departure. Default is arrival. 

Movement date: 
The date on which the person appeared before an immigration officer. 

Border port: 
The place where the person appeared before an immigration officer. 

Entry permit type: 
A list of entry permits within the CNMI system. 

A list of entry objectives which include business, tourism, 
employment, official, diplomatic, crew, military, transit, education, 
relative, religious, migration, and alien retiree. 

Stay number: 
A number that indicates how long the person entering the Commonwealth 
will be allowed to stay. It is prefilled for certain categories of 
visitors (for example, tourists are allowed 30 days). 

Stay unit: 
The unit that matches the stay number: days, weeks, months, quarters, 

Stay until: 
The date on which the entry permission expires. For example, although 
tourists are generally allowed 30-day stays unless extended, charter 
flights from China carry specific exit dates at the end of the tour 
that usually do not include the full 30 days. 

A note field in which the immigration officer may identify the person 
whom the entering person will visit or with whom he or she will work. 

The airline and flight number. 

Permit number: 
Tourists coming to the CNMI from some countries have a visa number 
that is entered here. Foreign workers coming to the CNMI enter with an 
Authorization For Entry (AFE) document that carries an identifying 
number that is entered here. This is the same as the LIIDS number that 
will be on the Entry Permit card issued to the worker after the health 
certification is obtained. 

Hotel/stay where: 
The location where the entrant will stay. This is generally collected 
for statistical information for the visitor program. 

A system generated number unique to the individual who is being 
identified by this record. 

The user ID of the Immigration Officer who is making or verifying the 
entry data from the BorderGuard passport reader. 

Change date: 
The date that information on this screen is updated/changed. 


The type of document that has been imaged--usually a passport. 

A system-generated number unique to the person being identified. 

The user ID of the Immigration Officer that processed the passport at 
arrival or departure. 

Change date: 
The date on which the passport was scanned. 

Entry permission: 

Permission type: 
The person's current immigration status. It is the same as the entry 
permit type. 

Granted date: 
The date on which the new permission was granted by an immigration 
officer. This defaults to the current date. 

Stay until: 
The new date on which the permission will expire. Tourists or business 
persons may be granted an additional 30 or 60 days. Foreign workers 
will be granted one year upon renewal or transfer, and they must 
register a new permission every year. 

LIIDS number: 
The identifying number on their permit for foreign workers who have 
entry permits. 

Receipt number: 
The receipt number indicating payment of fees for extensions and 

SystemID, IdentityID, UserID: 
The same information as listed on other screens described above. 

Source: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Data Collection 
Manual: Border Management System, 2007. 

[End of table] 

[End of enclosure] 

Enclosure III: History of LIIDS, LIDS and BMS Development: 

In 1995, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) funded the CNMI 
government's development of the Labor and Immigration Identification 
and Documentation System (LIIDS) with an initial grant of $1.5 
million. A prototype database, utilizing Microsoft Access 2.0, became 
operational in July 1995 with capacity to store a year's worth of data 
while a full system was developed. The prototype database collected 
information about foreign workers (see enclosure I). 

Beginning in May 1996, LIIDS was used to issue a small plastic 
identification card, known as the entry permit card, to each foreign 
worker who entered the CNMI. The card recorded the worker's basic 
personal data and displayed the worker's photo but did not contain 
historical information. In November 1998, LIIDS software was 
completed, and by January 1999, the database was upgraded to Microsoft 
Access 97. Added features included additional data security measures, 
bar codes on entry permit cards, and new fields to record approval 
dates and legal requirements. Flags were added to the system to show 
barring of employers, deportation orders against foreign workers, 
terminations for cause, and similar frequently used information. By 
May 1999, hardware had been acquired and LIIDS came online with newly 
acquired, installed, and networked terminals. The new system allowed 
the database to provide a history of each foreign worker's employment 
in the CNMI. 

From 1999 to 2001, LIIDS was used for both labor and immigration 
purposes. After 2001, following the CNMI government's purchase of the 
Border Management System (BMS), LIIDS was used to track information on 
individuals who have entered the CNMI for employment and other 
purposes only. According to the CNMI Department of Labor, the CNMI 
government purchased BMS from an Australian vendor that supplies 
several countries with immigration data systems, usually under the 
auspices of the Australian foreign aid program. 

Since 2001, BMS has been used to track all persons entering and 
departing the CNMI, including tourists, foreign workers, and U.S. 
citizens. Following the federalization of CNMI immigration and border 
control on November 28, 2009, the CNMI government continued to 
maintain the BMS system, using CNMI Customs officers to gather 
information from visitors at the Commonwealth's ports of entry. 

In 2004, the CNMI government began to upgrade the LIIDS software as 
well as some hardware used by the CNMI Department of Labor. The 
software was designed and completed in 2005, with final testing in 
2006. Although the file server and scanner hardware were acquired in 
2005, delays in receiving 2007 grant funds from DOI led the CNMI 
government to postpone procurement of personal computers and network 
printers until fiscal year 2008. 

In 2007, the CNMI Department of Labor undertook an automation project 
to replace the LIIDS software. On February 1, 2008, the Labor 
Information Data System (LIDS) was brought online and by July 2008, 
the system was further revised based on staff suggestions, as 
described in the CNMI Department of Labor's 2008 Annual Report. In 
2009, two new modules were added to the system, covering 
administrative hearings and enforcement, and the system's main module 
for labor processing was further updated, as described in the CNMI 
Department of Labor's 2009 Annual Report. According to CNMI officials, 
LIDS constitutes a completely different automation system than the 
original LIIDS and was funded by the Governor in 2007. In 2010, a 
representative from the CNMI Department of Labor told us that the 
major difference between the systems is the way information is 
gathered; LIDS uses scanners to upload information from forms 
automatically, while LIIDS required manual data input. The CNMI 
Department of Labor was unable to provide more detailed information 
due to insufficient staff resources. 

[End of enclosure] 

Enclosure IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgment: 

GAO Contact: 

David Gootnick (202) 512-3149 or 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the person named above, Emil Friberg (Assistant 
Director), Julia A. Roberts, R. Gifford Howland, Reid Lowe, Ashley 
Alley, Mona Sehgal, and Ben Bolitzer made key contributions to this 

[End of enclosure] 


[1] Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-229, 
Title VII, 122 Stat. 754, 853 (May 8, 2008) amends the U.S.-CNMI 
Covenant to establish federal control of CNMI immigration and includes 
several provisions affecting foreign workers and investors in the CNMI 
during a transition program that ends in 2014. The Secretary of 
Homeland Security decided to delay the start of the transition program 
for 180 days, from June 1, 2009, to November 28, 2009, as allowed 
under the law in consultation with the Secretaries of the Interior, 
Labor, and State, the Attorney General, and the CNMI Governor. 

[2] "Foreign workers" refers to workers in the CNMI who are not U.S. 
citizens or lawful permanent U.S. residents. Other sources sometimes 
call these workers "nonresident workers," "guest workers," "noncitizen 
workers," "alien workers," or "nonimmigrant workers." In this report, 
"foreign workers" does not refer to workers from the Freely Associated 
States--the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the 
Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau--who are permitted to work 
in the United States, including the CNMI, under the Compacts of Free 
Association (48 U.S.C. § 1901 note, 1921 note, and 1931 note). 

[3] Prior related GAO reports include Commonwealth of the Northern 
Mariana Islands: Managing Potential Economic Impact of Applying U.S. 
Immigration Law Requires Coordinated Federal Decisions and Additional 
Data, [hyperlink,] (Washington, 
D.C.: Aug. 4, 2008); Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: 
Pending Legislation Would Apply U.S. Immigration Law to the CNMI with 
a Transition Period, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 28, 
2008); and Northern Mariana Islands: Procedures for Processing Aliens 
and Merchandise, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: May 26, 

[4] The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. No. 
111-5, Div.A, Title VIII, 123 Stat. 115, 186) requires that GAO report 
annually on the impact of the minimum wage increases in American Samoa 
and the CNMI, in 2010 and each year thereafter until the minimum wages 
reach the U.S. minimum wage. The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 
2008 (Pub. L. No. 110-229, Title VII, 122 Stat. 754, 865) requires 
that GAO report on implementation and economic impact of legislation 
that extends U.S. immigration laws to the CNMI, no later than 2 years 
after enactment of the act. 

[5] LIIDS also contained information on students, foreign investors, 
and relatives of foreign workers. 

[6] In 2007, an attorney speaking on behalf of the CNMI's Secretary of 
Labor told us that the CNMI government was in the process of upgrading 

[7] The CNMI Department of Labor issued umbrella permits to all 
eligible foreign workers, students, investors, and relatives to 
provide them with status to remain in the Commonwealth after the 
federalization transition date, November 28, 2009, for a maximum of 2 

[8] Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, "The Commonwealth's 
Protocol for Implementing P.L. 110-229," Sept. 15, 2009. The protocol 
was posted as a public service notice on the CNMI Department of Labor 
Web site [hyperlink,]. 

[9] According to several Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents 
and a previous CNMI Attorney General, from 2005 to 2007, a liaison 
from the CNMI Department of Labor worked within the FBI's Saipan 
office with direct access to LIIDS and BMS to assist the FBI with all 
ongoing investigations. In 2007, the liaison was released and no 
replacement was assigned. In order to access the databases, FBI agents 
must rely on the same CNMI individual as the rest of the U.S. 

[10] CLAIMS 3 and 4 provides automated support to process and track 
applications and/or petitions for individuals who have filed and/or 
paid fees for benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as 

[11] U.S.-VISIT is designed to collect, maintain, and share data on 
selected foreign nationals entering and exiting the United States at 
air, sea, and land ports of entry. 

[12] The LIIDS database was archived and does not contain any current 

[13] [hyperlink,], 

[14] We conducted this interview in conjunction with our work in 
preparing [hyperlink,]. 

[End of section] 

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