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Biden Reminds Administration that Puerto Ricans Are U.S. Citizens

Presidential candidate Joe Biden suggested in a campaign speech that the administration’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico was affected by a misunderstanding.

“It’s shameful, the way we treated Puerto Rico and the islands,” Politico quoted Biden as saying. “I’m not even sure people in the president’s administration knew Puerto Ricans are all citizens.”

“I’m not joking,” Biden continued.

It is true that polls prior to the 2017 hurricane season showed that more than half of stateside Americans were unaware that people born in Puerto Rico are citizens, just as people born in States are. Polls following the hurricanes also showed that people who knew this were twice as likely to support helping Puerto Rico.

Comments in social media at the time often showed this confusion with comments like, “Why help Puerto Rico when we have problems in the United States?”.

Earlier this year,  White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley referred to Puerto Rico as “that country” twice during a TV interview.

Yet a Trump campaign statement leading up to his 2016 election recognized that “[t]here are 3.7 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico.”

Biden’s position on Puerto Rico

Then-Vice President Joe Biden said in 2015 that the current territorial status of Puerto Rico is “very bizarre” and that the territory should “fight hard” for statehood.

He made these comments in response to a question from an intern in an exchange subsequently reported by that intern. According to the Orlando Sentinel, that intern asked, “Mr. Vice President, as opposed to my fellow intern colleagues present here today, I will not be able to vote for you in four months …. You see, Mr. Vice President, I am Puerto Rican; and despite Puerto Ricans possessing American citizenship by birth, and thousands of brave Puerto Rican soldiers like my father having served and even died for our nation, many dying as we speak, we are denied equal voting and representation rights under the American flag.”

The young man concluded by asking, “Mr. Vice President, do you think we are contradicting ourselves as a nation when we preach freedom and democracy abroad in countries within the Middle East, and yet, to this very day, we maintain 3.7 million American citizens on the island of Puerto Rico under a disenfranchised political status, where they are denied the most basic fundamental rights enshrined in our U.S. Constitution?”

“At that moment,” according to the Sentinel, “Biden’s face became serious, yet sympathetic, as if he were about to offer a eulogy at a memorial service. After pausing for several seconds, he answered, ‘I must say, that is a very good question. I have always found Puerto Rico’s current political status as something very bizarre. My word of advice to you, and all Puerto Ricans, is that you continue to fight hard until you reach your goal of equality, and we shall act,’ Biden stated before taking one more question and finally disappearing through a hallway surrounded by the Secret Service.”

1 thought on “Biden Reminds Administration that Puerto Ricans Are U.S. Citizens”

  1. Research-Exposé (with Facts-Truth-Reason)
    **Equality for US Citizens-Veterans in US Territory of Puerto Rico (PR)!**
    “Patriots cry for Justice-a Call to Arms (Civic Action)-for Fairness-Equality!”
    SUM: Since, 1898 (for over 120 years)–fellow, but, 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans (part of “We the People”), in the US Territory of PR (with more US Citizens than 22 States)– have made many valuable contributions to our USA! But, TODAY face FEDERAL- unfair Treatment; institutional discrimination–DON’T have all RIGHTS–Federal “consent of the governed” nor blood earned Benefits nor Parity in Federal Laws nor permanent statutory US Citizenship (even in a State)–that other US Citizens-American Veterans have, under our great US Constitution; noble US Flag that represents all “WE THE PEOPLE”!
    o Puerto Ricans face a complex CRISIS which major root COMPONENTS are–
    *Economic-Jobs; Fiscal-Debt; Infrastructure; Social-Humanitarian; Status-Equality*
    Where each PART affects the other; the Federal undemocratic Territorial (Colonial) Status affects everything–which ties Puerto Rican hands, as there is no Federal Parity, to compete on a level Playing Field…!
    • The Federal Government (US President; US Congress; US Federal-Supreme Court)- has done some good things, but, incongruently doesn’t FAIRLY treat fellow US Citizens-American Veterans, in the US Territory of PR, the same as those in the States, even while Puerto Ricans are part of “WE THE PEOPLE”; nor has the Federal Government done anything for 120+ years to fix-remedy an unjust Federal undemocratic situation–per the trite Territorial Clause-1787, and US Supreme Court Insular Cases-1901-1925+ when institutional Racism was in vogue…, but, is the Federal Governing Law today!
    • There is a big Exodus to the States that hurts PR’s Economy… as it taxes State-Local resources…
    • Loyal US Puerto Ricans sacrifice; make great contributions to our noble US, since 1513, when their Ancestors (1st Governor of PR) came to the now US–107 years before the Pilgrims; fought in the War of Independence (1776)… as today brave US Veterans-shed sweat, blood, and tears for our US Flag!
    Patriots of True Grit call for Civic ACTION to get the Federal Government to do Right– concurrently solve the root causes of the enormous Crisis; not make excuses, cover-up, generalize, speculate, distort, stereotype or misinform– that SUPPORTS discrimination or closet racism, since 1898!
    SOLVE- The Federal Government should do its DUTY-provide FAIR TREATMENT-EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE” (not some)! Take concurrent ACTION-Fix, with PR Government–
    “Economic-Jobs; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Humanitarian; Status-Equality-Crisis”
    • Federal-US SUPREME Court: Overturn/revoke discriminatory and racist Insular Cases (1901-1925+)
    • PASS HR 4901; Incorporate; grant STATEHOOD; admit fellow loyal US Citizens-US Veterans– to our “UNION of STATES” with own– STATE- PR Identity; Constitution; Flag; and Sovereignty; UNITED- under our US Constitution-noble US Flag-that represents ALL the PEOPLE-States and Territories.
    *Equality Alternative–do Referendum on NON-Territorial Constitutional defined Options, which only are:
    **Those with a non-permanent statutory US Citizenship, even if residing in the States, should participate in any Status Plebiscite, because the outcome could affect them (can lose US Citizenship).
    UNITED-With Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action-for the Good of ALL!
    Let the TRUTH liberate ignorance! May the “Force” of the “UNION” be with you!

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