Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI)
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a self-governing Commonwealth of the United States. Located about 100 miles northeast of Guam, the CNMI is a 300 mile archipelago consisting of 14 islands, with a total land area of 183.5 square miles. The principal inhabited islands are Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. The northern, largely uninhabited islands are Farallon de Medinilla, Anatahan, Sariguan, Gudgeon, Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, Asuncion, Maug Islands, and Farallon de Pajaro. Saipan is 3,300 miles from Honolulu; 5,625 from San Francisco; 1,272 miles from Tokyo; and 3,090 miles from Sydney. The Mariana Islands are on the edge of the Philippine Plate. They were formed by underwater volcanoes along the Marianas Trench. The northern islands are high volcanic islands and the southern islands are raised limestone. Anatahan was an active volcano with the first recorded volcanic eruption on 10 May 2003.The CNMI main island of Saipan is located about 100 miles northeast of Guam, about 1,200 miles southeast of Tokyo, and 3,300 miles west of Honolulu. The smallest of the U.S. insular areas, the CNMI consists of 14 islands with a total land area of 183.5 square miles.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) emerged from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) which the United States administered on behalf of the United Nations from 1947 until Palau, the last member of the TTPI to choose its own political future, became an independent country 1994. The Federal law (the Covenant) making the CNMI a US territory passed in 1975 following a self-determined choice by the people of the CNMI to join the United States. The CNMI adopted its constitution in 1977, and its first constitutional government took office in 1978, including the election of a governor. Under the terms of the 1978 agreement, citizens of the self-governing commonwealth were not allowed to vote in U.S. presidential elections, but they enjoyed all other benefits of US citizenship. Pursuant to a locally-adopted constitution, they elect a Governor, bi-cameral legislature, and Washington Representative. The people of the CNMI were granted US citizenship in 1986. The 1990 population was 43,345 persons. The 1995 mid-decade census preliminary results showed a total population of 59,913 persons. Non-United States citizens made up 54 percent of the population, with local residents who were United States citizens comprising the remaining 46 percent.
The CNMI came under Federal minimum wage regulations in 2007 and immigration law in 2008. In June 2009, the US Department of Homeland Security took over the CNMI's immigration and border controls.
In February 2009, the US also signed the Guam International Agreement with Japan, as part of progress on a 2006 roadmap for reducing US presence on the Japanese island of Okinawa. On 3 October 2013 it was announced that this agreement had been amended to include provisions that clarifying that Japan would contribute up to $3.1 billion in FY12 US dollars in direct cash contributions to develop facilities and infrastructure both in Guam and the CNMI. The previous 2012 Security Consultative Committee Joint Statement had estimated the total cost of the Guam relocation to be $8.6 billion. In addition, it was affirmed that the Government of the United States of America, with the intent to provide reasonable access, would favorably consider requests by the Government of Japan to use training areas in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to further reduce its reliance on facilities on the island of Okinawa.
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