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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-5:01:47P.M.






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Senate adopts joint resolution to end ‘birth tourism’ in NMI

AFTER making a “minor technical amendment,” the Senate on Wednesday unanimously adopted House Joint Resolution 21-4 which expresses the CNMI’s willingness to cooperate with the U.S. government in modifying the Covenant to end birth tourism in the Commonwealth.

All seven senators present voted in favor of H.J.R. 21-4 which was transmitted to the governor’s office on Thursday afternoon.

Sen. Frank M. Borja was absent.

Sen. Vinnie Sablan offered the technical amendment to correct a grammatical error in the resolution. He said the phrase “hereby consents to cooperation with the U.S. United States government” should read “hereby consents to cooperate with the Unites States government.”

After consulting with legislative legal counsel Antoinette Villagomez and John Cool, the rest of the senators agreed to make the technical change and notify the House about it.

Authored by Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao, H.J.R. 21-4 proposes to modify Section 303 of the Covenant’s Article 3 to read:

“All persons born in the Commonwealth on or after the effective date of this section and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, having been born to persons domiciled or legally employed in the Commonwealth or holding citizenship of the United States, will be citizens of the United States at birth. This section shall not affect persons who have been granted citizenship of the United States prior to the effective date of the amendment or citizens subject to the jurisdiction of the nations governed by the Compact of Free Association with the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Belau.”

The joint resolution also states that “the Commonwealth has been informed during the 902 consultations that one of the challenges tied to existence of the Commonwealth’s discretionary parole program is a recent increase in ‘birth tourism’ and found that the rise of birth tourism has had deleterious effects for the Commonwealth residents.”

The resolution describes birth tourism as involving “pregnant foreign women visiting a nation temporarily to have a child that would acquire that nation’s citizenship through ‘jus soli’ commonly known as ‘birth right’ citizenship.”