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Is Puerto Rico Part of the U.S.?

The United States flag has flown over Puerto Rico since 1898.  Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and can vote in U.S. presidential primaries.  They can even become president of the United States. Puerto Rico contributes more soldiers to the U.S. armed services per capita than any state, and Puerto Ricans pay federal payroll and other taxes.  U.S. citizens can travel freely between Puerto Rico and the rest of the U.S. – no passport required. Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar for currency.

Sounds like Puerto Rico is part of the U.S., right?

Technically, no. Puerto Rico belongs to the United States. It is a possession of the United States. It is a U.S. territory. But it is an unincorporated territory, and it has not yet been incorporated into the U.S. Therefore, it is not legally a part of the United States.  The Supreme Court made this clear in a series of decisions known as the Insular Cases.

It is not foreign, though. A U.S. citizen from Utah who moves to Spain can still vote in U.S. elections with an absentee ballot. If this U.S. citizen becomes a resident of Puerto Rico, however, he or she will not be able to vote with an absentee ballot from Utah, because Puerto Rico is not a foreign country.

In fact, it’s not a country at all. Puerto Rico doesn’t manage its own foreign trade and diplomacy, and the U.S. generally stops it when the island’s government tries to do so. Immigration is also regulated by the U.S.

As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is treated like a state under many U.S. laws, but it is not a state. There is no legal requirement that Puerto Rico be treated equally, and often it is not. Federal funds are often distributed unequally to Puerto Rico, and the people of Puerto Rico don’t have the same access to some tax credits as the people living on the mainland do.

The question is hotly debated in forums around the internet, but the answer is clear: Puerto Rico is a territory and a possession of the United States, not technically a part of the United States under U.S. law.

24 thoughts on “Is Puerto Rico Part of the U.S.?”

  1. Puerto Rico BELONGS to but is NOT A PART of the United States. It is ” FOREIGN IS A DOMESTIC SENSE”.

    The governing Populist Democrats (“commonwealth” party) for decades before the internet exposed them, claimed they favored permanent union with the US despite rejecting incorporation into the US.
    Incorporation into the US and or statehood is the only possible methods of permanent union.
    The “commonwealth” played the deception very well until the internet age exposed them.
    Now the “commonwealth” party refuses to even present a status alternative to represent them. This is their excuse to not have any referendums while at the same time bankrupting Puerto Rico in hopes the US will rule out statehood as an option and force an “associated republic”.
    The Puerto Ricans by far 98% treasure and want to perpetuate “permanent union” and US citizenship by birth.
    The PDP/”commonwealth” party leadership is run by former independence party members and “armchair SSI/Medicare/Pell Grant nationalists” (wy words) Its a complete joke seeing these hypocrite “sovereigntists” exiles from the defunct and defunct again independence party that fails to get enough support to qualify on the ballot. Therefore the PDP as “lent” votes to the PIP to keep them inscribed as a party. In return, the PIP voters abandon independence and vote as a block for “commonwealth” to deprive statehood from even a plurality. But in 2012 statehood won 61% of CLEAR PROPERLY CAST BALLOTS as well as 46% plurality over the runner up Free Association’s 33%.
    Free Association (Associated Independence) got 33% only because the PDP and PIP/MUS campaigned on the lie that it was “Sovereign Commonwealth”, an “improved Commonwealth”.

    When gobernatorial candidate Alejandro Garcia Padilla realized “ELA Soberano/ Enhanced Commonwealth” would lose to statehood, Padilla called for voting YES to “territory Commonwealth” on question 1 and leaving the permanent alternatives “BLANC”.

    This is important to note because;
    1. Now Governor Padilla a a SEPARATIST.
    2. Gov Padilla during much of the campaign REJECTED the notion that Puerto Rico was a US territory,thus rejected question one because it called the present relationship “territorial”. He called for a “NO” vote and “ELA SOBERANO” (Free Association) on question 2.
    3. Gov Padilla has since defied Moody’s /Fitch/Standard&Poor, economists asking for economic reforms and freer business climate.
    4. He opposes privitization and visits Venezuela to “study” their econonomic model.
    5. Padilla is quoted as saying “Government provides and gives , but also demands of the people.” He meant his administration, and he kept his word IMPOSING 82 TAX HIKES SINCE 2013 with a third world “Value added tax” (VAT) on his wish list.
    6. His VAT tax died in the legislature, Padilla promises “retribution” and has promised to impose the VAT by in his own words;” decreto ejecutivo (Executive Decree).

    He really thinks he’s King of PR!!!

    1. But the people voted as they did. They made their choice, it’s their responsibility whom they listen to. Their vote is not someone else’s fault, even the Governor’s.

    1. Residents of Puerto Rico can’t vote in presidential elections, even though they are citizens, but they do get to vote in the primaries and send delegates to the party conventions. Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S. and the people who are born there are citizens. If they move to a state, they can vote in presidential elections. If someone born in one of the 50 states moves to Puerto Rico, they can’t vote in the presidential elections.

  2. OK.Estos decretos echos por nosotros unos dicen una cosa otros dicen otra.mi pregunta yo como siudadano de los Estados Unidos puedo según el decreto renunciar ha la siudadano estado unidense.sierto ho,no.

      1. América es una tierra de muchos sabores, y Puerto Rico agrega más especias. Si te conviertes en un estado, Estados Unidos será mejor para él.

        Plus, we have Google Translate! It’s not perfect, but what is?

  3. I hope they never become part of the US, “get all the benefits” yeah you get all the benefits, while us real Americans get no benefits, because we’re American, bullshit.

  4. Ever since the PPD (Populares) gave the administration of the Territory (colony) to the PNP, back in 1968, ON AVERAGE the electorate have been divided 48% PPD, 48% PNP, and 4% PIP through 2012 and have divided administering the territory 6 times each party and the PNP winning number 13th in 2016. Until 1968 the PPD had won its elections with well over 60% of the electorate their 1964 victory with Mr. Rafael Sanchez Vilella thy won it with 59.20% of the electorate to loos in 1968 with only 40.7% of the electorate to the PNP 43.6%. In 1972 Don Rafael Hernandez Colón came into power usurping the Party from Don Luis Muños Marín and changing the IDEAL of Culmination of Don Luis from Statehood to Independence. Did this by misnaming Independence with “Sovereign” ELA or “Enhanced” ELA. Also making the people believe that the “Estado Libre Asociado” (ELA) was some type of political status. This is the MESS with the Puerto Rico status right now. has now.

  5. Sad but Puerto Rico is NOT part of the United States, it belongs to it and can dispose of it at anytime- that’s the reason to incorporate or become a state is so important . At this point I will settle for incorporation- I will be one of many dying before seeing my island become a state.

  6. **SYNOPSIS-US Federal vs US Territory of Puerto Rico unjust Relationship**
    (For Sources-Proof-Facts-Truth: See Enclosure Page 10)
    “The Federal Government should be the Servant of ALL the People; not the Master of some!”
    1. In 1898, Puerto Rico (PR) was taken as War booty; made a forced US Territory-Colony that falls under the undemocratic control of the Federal Government (US President, US Congress, and US Supreme Court), per the trite Territorial Clause (1787) that states: “The US Congress has the Power to dispose of and make all rules and regulations respecting the Territory or Property belonging to the United States.”, and US Supreme Court discriminatory Insular Cases (1901-1925+; when racism was in vogue).
    • Fellow, but, 2d Class US Citizens-American Veterans in the “unincorporated” US Territory of Puerto Rico don’t have all “We the People” Constitutional rights, benefits, Parity in Federal Laws since 1898, (has lost $200+ Billion that States receive); nor a permanent *statutory US Citizenship (even if residing in a State)…!
    • The Federal Government controls PR’s economy/market, currency, security, borders, defense, shipping (1920 Jones Act), taxes, benefits, foreign relations…; oversees all local laws; can cede PR to another Nation; doesn’t provide for FAIR Treatment; an Equal US Citizenship… while Puerto Ricans pay some Federal Taxes, fees…; contribute to the US economy; creation of hundreds of thousands US Jobs…; more flow of capital to the US than it fairly gets from it…
    2. *Sources of US Citizenship-
    • US Constitution 14th Amendment (PERMANENT)–which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside…” Thus, you are a permanent US Citizen if born in a State or Naturalized…in a State there-in… *It doesn’t mention a US Territory which have a statutory (by Law) un-permanent US Citizenship, per various US Supreme Court and Federal Court Decisions.
    • Territorial Clause; per Insular Cases (UN-PERMANENT): The 1917 Jones Act imposed a Federal statutory (by Congressional Law…) 2d Class US Citizens on the inhabitants of the US Territory of Puerto Rico–WITHOUT all rights, benefits, parity in Federal Laws…or a permanent statutory US Citizenship-(no matter where you reside-includes in a State…)
    3. Territories are under the undemocratic will of the US Congress, per the archaic Territorial Clause and the Insular Cases (1901-1925+; during Racist times)– that authorizes our US Congress to provide a Federal Statutory (by Federal Law) US Citizenship that can be revoked by the US Congress—which undemocratically controls the US Territory of Puerto Rico…
    4. The US Supreme Court (Insular Cases-1901-1925+; made during racist times—especially-1901-Downes vs Bidwell, and 1922-Balzac vs PR) —wrongly determined “the US Congress could discriminate in applying the US Constitution to the US Territory of Puerto Rico…” (has more US Citizens-American Veterans than 22 States) because—PR is an “unincorporated” US Territory that belongs to, but, is not part of the US (incongruently making PR “more Foreign than Domestic”).
    • These discriminatory terms are not found in the US Constitution nor were used for US Territories that became States before Puerto Rico! Besides, some Congressmen called Puerto Ricans– “aliens”, mestizos, could not govern themselves…”
    • Yet the US Supreme Court has not revoked the Insular Cases as they are the standing discriminating LAW that governs PR until today; goes against the essence of our “WE THE PEOPLE US Constitution; Fairness; Equal Rights!
    • This raises a dichotomy question, how can US Citizens-American Veterans (part of “WE THE PEOPLE”) be incongruently- discriminated (treated differently) as “Foreign” in some Federal Laws under their US Flag (like 2017 Tax Reform Law; plus, taken out from the Federal Debt Reorganization Federal Code-1984…); not provided all rights, benefits, parity in Federal Laws, permanent statutory US Citizenship… that other US Citizens have? The US Citizen is the ESSENCE–of our US Constitution-WE THE PEOPLE; “Consent of the Governed”; not, the undemocratic Federal control of the Land and People!
    • The terms “unincorporated, more foreign than domestic…”are NOT in the US Constitution! Besides, Territories before Puerto Rico didn’t suffer this Federal institutional discrimination…!
    The Federal US Supreme Court, in the “Insular Cases”, has mal interpreted our developing WE THE PEOPLE US Constitution (with Amendments, includes the “Bill of Rights”…)! THUS, the US Supreme Court must do its duty to Revoke the Insular Cases; Incorporate Puerto Rico; provide all the guarantees of our US Republic (government by-for the People); UNITED under our US Constitution (“We the People”) with a Representative Democracy; “Consent of the Governed”!
    5. Under the US Constitution, there are only four major ways of government under the sovereignty of the US-Federal Government– one for States, Territories, District of Columbia, and Indian Tribes. The US Congress can rescind any Laws it makes… But, it’s not above the US Constitution to create a new Status… “Commonwealth” or ELA-“Free Associated State” (Estado Libre Asociado”) are political distorted terms that are not found in the US Constitution; cause confusion and fool people as to the true PR Status which is–“US Territory”. However, the Federal Government, under the Territorial Clause, can dress-up its Territories with a political name that hides the true Constitutional Status; name the Government “Commonwealth” or ELA: Free Associated State—which is not a constitutional Status.
    6. Puerto Ricans have voted for Statehood in the last two Plebiscites (2012-2017); don’t want Independence—which never gets more than 5% in local Plebiscites; has elected a pro-statehood Territorial Government! More Puerto Ricans (6+ million) live in the States than live in PR (about 3.2 million); are integrated into the US way of Life…; have made great Contributions to our noble “We the People” USA!
    7. Puerto Ricans are integrated into the US way of life…; their Hispanic Ancestors (which came to the now USA (1513)-107 years before the Pilgrims–brought Christianity, horses, cows, pigs…; fought in the War of Independence for our USA…); and since 1898, Puerto Ricans fight, under our US Flag, (WW-I; WW-II; Korea; Vietnam until today…); have made great contributions (in all fields of endeavor) to our grand US Flag!

    TODAY, Our US Republic’s (Government by the People) US Constitution “WE THE PEOPLE”—is made up by Individual US Citizens with EQUAL Rights; has a Representative Democracy-with “Consent of the Governed”…But, millions of US Citizens-American Veterans have a 2d Class US Citizenship…!

    The Federal Government (US President; US Congress; US Supreme Court) has WRONGLY created two Groups of US Citizens, under our US “WE THE PEOPLE” Constitution , noble US Flag: ONE with 1st Class US Citizenship– WITH all rights, benefits, parity in Federal laws, permanent US Citizenship…; ANOTHER with 2d Class US Citizenship WITHOUT– all rights, benefits, parity in Federal laws, permanent US Citizenship…etc.

    Thus, the TIME IS NOW for the Federal Government to take action; END this trite Federal undemocratic Territorial Status; Incorporate US Puerto Rico; provide—EQUALITY + PROGRESS = STATEHOOD!
    *Alternative: conduct a NON-Territorial Plebiscite with defined Constitutional Options STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (Without or with a Pact of Free Association).

    No excuses that institutionally discriminate accepted! The Federal Government should the SERVANT of all “WE THE PEOPLE”; not the MASTER of some (like Puerto Ricans). The US Supreme Court must ensure FAIR Treatment-Equal Rights for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE”; revoke the appropriate discriminatory and racist Insular Cases, like they did with “Plessy v. Ferguson” (1896-separate, but, equal doctrine to justify racial segregation) in “Brown vs the Board of Education”! UNITED with Truth, Reason, Courage, and CIVIC ACTION for the Good of ALL, not just some!

  7. Pingback: Equal Rights for Puerto Ricans: US Citizens-US Veterans, now!   | — PR sin USA, No es PR; USA sin PR, No es USA.

  8. Pingback: -STATUTORY US CITIZENSHIP  is UN-PERMANENT-   | — PR sin USA, No es PR; USA sin PR, No es USA.

  9. Pingback: Why is Puerto Rico not part of the United States of America? - Puertorico Digital News

  10. Pingback: Columna–Statutory US Citizenship – Ciudadanía No Constitucional y que nos la Pueden Quitar | — PR sin USA, No es PR; USA sin PR, No es USA.

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