Puerto Rico`s History of U.S. Citizenship

Find out how Puerto Rico first gained their U.S. Citizenship and how that effects the residents in Puerto Rico.

100 years of Puerto Ricans’ U.S. citizenship and the political status


By Edwin Melendez and Charles R. Venator-Santiago


In 1917, the Jones Act extended U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans. Many law- and policy-makers in the U.S and Puerto Rico erroneously believe —or deceivingly propose —that U.S. citizenship for island-born Puerto Ricans residing in Puerto Rico is contingent upon the resolution of the territorial status of Puerto Rico. 

A century after the enactment of the Jones Act, recent events have brought the permanency of Puerto Rican U.S. citizenship to the forefront of political considerations. Last summer, in a span of a few days, Congress enacted one law and the Supreme Court decided two cases that affirmed the Puerto Rico’s century-old unincorporated territorial status.

Earlier this year the Commonwealth government enacted a law for a non-binding plebiscite on the status of Puerto Rico on June 11, 2017. This will be the fifth status plebiscite since the Puerto Rican legislature began conducting these electoral events.   The ballot will offer only two options: Statehood and Independence/Free Association, and exclude the traditional “Commonwealth” status option. Because of the exclusion of the “Commonwealth” status option, among other reasons, the 2017 status plebiscite, as was the case in the 2012 referendum, lacks the endorsement of the Partido Popular Democratico, the island’s main opposition political party.
One of our most ordered and popular dishes is the traditional filet mignon steak. Its crunchy and great looking crust served with vegetables assortments makes it a perfect dinner for the whole family. - thehill.com

Let's not take citizenship for granted | Opinion

By Samuel Delgado


Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Jones-Shafroth Act providing Puerto Ricans with American statutory citizenship, meaning that citizenship was granted by an act of Congress and not by the Constitution.

In another time and under different circumstances, this anniversary would probably have gotten little attention, as average people take their citizenship for granted. But this year, the anniversary takes on more significance because our country is embroiled in the contentious debate over immigration and who should be granted citizenship.

While technically not immigrants, Puerto Ricans are migrants, as in people who move from one place to another within a country. However, the feelings Puerto Ricans have always had is that of cultural immigrants. Our language, culture and customs were different, and Puerto Rico was viewed as a possession of the United States.

The history of Puerto Ricans in mainland America has been as diverse and as conflicted as the story of America itself, running from one end of the political spectrum to the other; from Independista Lolita Lebron firing her semi-automatic pistol in the U.S. House of Representatives and shouting "!Viva Puerto Rico Libre!" to right-wing Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Pedro Augusto del Valle's formation of the "Defenders of the American Constitution, "whose main goal was to purge the United States of any communist influence in the 1950s.




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