Puerto Rico is legally a territory of the United States, but it is frequently referred to as merely a “possession” in federal legislation and official statements.
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C. Kevin Marshall, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for President George W. Bush, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, Testimony before the Committee of Energy and Natural Resources, November 16, 2006. The Task Force issued its  report last December and concluded that there were three general options under the Constitution for Puerto Rico’s… Read more »
Report by The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status (President Barack Obama), 2011, p. 26. Under the Commonwealth option, Puerto Rico would remain, as it is today, subject to the Territory Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Report by The President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status (President George W. Bush) December 2007, p. 5. … Read more »
Puerto Rico is a territory belonging to the United States. Historically, many parts of the current United States, such as Oregon and Missouri, were territories before statehood. The Philippines are an example of a former territory of the United States which is now an independent nation. There are also former territories which have become part… Read more »
Harris v. Rosario, 446 U.S. 651, 651-52 (1980). Congress, which is empowered under the Territory Clause of the constitution, U.S. const., Art. IV, 3, cl.2, to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the territory . . . belonging to the United States,” may treat Puerto Rico differently from States so long as there is… Read more »
A CNN article reports that Puerto Rico, an island with a population of 3,706,690, had 1,136 murders last year — 70% of them related to drug trafficking. For perspective, consider that New York City, with a population of more than 8 million people, had 496 murders in 2011. Travelers from Puerto Rico to the mainland… Read more »
Caribbean Business reports that the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization is considering the situation of Puerto Rico once again at its annual meeting. The committee is meeting today to consider the case of Puerto Rico in particular.
The Governing Board of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) will present a new agenda on status to its General Assembly on Sunday. The platform argues that Puerto Rico is not a territory of the United States at all: The PDP reaffirms the validity of the Commonwealth as autonomous political body, founded on a pact of union… Read more »
Withe a new admission bill in Congress, Puerto Rico could become the 51st state of the Union, with “rights, benefits and responsibilities equal to the rest of the States of the Union.” The President’s Report on Puerto Rico says, “If Puerto Rico became a State, citizens of Puerto Rico would be entitled to full representation… Read more »
In November, the people of Puerto Rico will have the opportunity to vote on the issue of their status. They will have two questions: first, they must choose between making a change and maintaining their current status as a territory of the United States.