The headline isn't mine; I borrowed it from Special Legal Counsel Howard Willens. It heads his letter in Appendix XII of the Government Accountability Office report on the impact of federal immigration law. The letter is the CNMI response to the draft report, which he predicts would result in that headline.
The Saipan Tribune decided to use the acronymic and more catchy GAO: Local GDP could plunge instead but agreeably used this lead: "Pointing to findings they say will harm the CNMI's economy, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and officials in his administration are blasting a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office that details several scenarios on the impact of the pending federal takeover of local immigration rules and includes projections that suggest it could slash the Commonwealth's gross domestic product by 50 percent or more."
The Marianas Variety? They went with GAO downplays Fitial’s economic disaster scenario.
So which is correct? Strangely enough, both papers can justify their headlines. It's just a political decision: what they want to emphasize.
I was thinking about this last night, but a 100+ page report gives me a PDF headache and I needed a good night's sleep. It's the best they could do, I suppose, but there are so many qualifications I've come to a familiar cynical conclusion: pretty worthless.
Save yourself some time and just read the title: "Managing Potential Economic Impact of Applying U.S. Immigration Law Requires Coordinated Federal Decisions and Additional Data".
The scenarios are based on 'all things remaining equal', i.e. ignoring the increasing minimum wage, high-flying energy prices and the CNMI's low-flying economy. Those factors have too much influence on the outcome to be set aside.
The Commonwealth letter and GAO response to it in Appendix XII are entertaining and informative if you've got the time. Otherwise, read both papers and the first page of the report. Glutton for punishment? Here's the link.