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    Thursday, August 22, 2019-11:35:22P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Governor interviewed on national TV about birth tourism

GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres was interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Fox News regarding birth tourism in the CNMI. (https://video.foxnews.com/v/6072629472001/#sp=show-clips)

Asked by Carlson how common birth tourism is in the islands, the governor said it has been more common and frequent in the last few years and has been a pressing issue in the last couple of years.

Ralph Torres

Last month, the CNMI House of Representatives adopted House Joint Resolution 21-4, expressing the islands’ intent to cooperate with the U.S. government in modifying the Covenant to end birth tourism in the Commonwealth.

Torres told Carlson that the issue was brought up during the 902 consultations between the CNMI and federal governments. Through this consultation, he said the CNMI government has expressed its willingness to address this concern with the White House.

“To have birth tourism as tourism itself, we don’t appreciate that because it hurts our healthcare. That is the bottom-line of our concern,” the governor said.

He doesn’t think it is fair to say that going after birth tourism scheme is “racist.”

“We welcome them as tourists. We welcome every tourist. But to come in for the sake of giving birth, I think that is something that should really be a concern and we are concerned because we don’t welcome this type of image that we want to portray in the Commonwealth,” Torres said.

“We have the nicest and beautiful beaches, beautiful islands. These are what we want to market. Our islands [are] beautiful…peaceful, relaxing…. That is the image that we want to portray,” he added.

Torres reiterated the CNMI government’s intent to work closely with the Trump administration in addressing the issue.

“We never had a better [U.S.] administration that really had the opportunity to come down to the CNMI and watch and listen and address our concerns. And I believe through the leadership of the White House, we [also] have really good supporters from both the [U.S.] House and the [U.S.] Senate,” the governor added.

He believes that the issue on birth tourism will be addressed — “and I hope it is addressed soon.”

In a statement to the CNMI media on Wednesday evening, the governor said:

“I recently sat down with Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson to discuss birth tourism in the CNMI and how we’re doing our part to curb this dangerous practice with our federal partners.

“Birth tourism, as we know, has been a major problem for the CNMI, affecting our overall tourism industry and straining our healthcare resources at CHCC.

“Through our most recent 902 consultations, we worked with the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and our other partners on a solution that would increase collaboration between federal immigration enforcement and our local law enforcement to eliminate birth tourism by going after these bad actors.

“I thank the Legislature for working with our administration to end this risky and dangerous practice. It poses health risks for the mothers and the children, and it hurts our reputation as a tourism destination.

“Our goal is to uphold our responsibilities as members of the American family and to promote our islands as a world-class destination, where visitors come here for our beautiful beaches and our unique environment.

“I thank our community for allowing me to share our vision of a safer Marianas with the rest of the country.”