The fate of U.S. citizenship in a new nation of Puerto Rico has been the subject of debate for many years. In Puerto Rico, intense arguments have been waged over the likely fate of U.S. citizenship if Puerto Rico were to become a sovereign nation. In Washington D.C., however, there is uniform agreement – Puerto Ricans would eventually lose their U.S. citizenship. The only question is when.
Presidents and members of Congress have said Puerto Ricans could lose their U.S. citizenship immediately if Puerto Rico were to become a new nation – either under independence or free association. Under President George W. Bush, the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status in 2007 and 2005 was clear that “it would need to be made clear to the people of Puerto Rico that freely associated status is a form of independence,” and “independence for the United States could affect the citizenship of Puerto Rico’s residents.” In particular, “[t]he general rule is that citizenship follows sovereignty.”
Others, like the Obama White House in 2011, have been more charitable, indicating that people living within Puerto Rico on the day sovereignty is achieved should be able to keep their citizenship as a matter of principle. The failure of the 2011_President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status to address what is legally and politically possible – as opposed to simply stating ideals and values – provides no reassurance to Puerto Ricans who value their U.S. citizenship, especially now that President Obama is out of office.
There is also uniform recognition that one Congress cannot bind a future Congress, and because U.S. citizenship for Puerto Ricans is provided by federal law, each Congress can decide when and how U.S. citizenship for Puerto Rican can end. As the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status made clear in in 2007 and 2005, the terms of Free Association “cannot be made immune from the possibility of unilateral termination by the United States.” Even a grant of citizenship is no guarantee, as it could end in the next Congress.
Over the years, statements by Federal decision makers about U.S. citizenship under a newly sovereign Puerto Rico have come in the context of possible independence, Free Association, or an “enhancement” of the current territorial status. Regardless of the type of sovereignty at issue, however, the thinking of Federal officials has been unwavering: foreign sovereignty is ultimately not consistent with U.S. citizenship.
STATEMENTS REGARDING U.S. CITIZENSHIP IN A SOVEREIGN PUERTO RICO
Executive Branch Statements: Presidential Task Forces on Puerto Rico’s Status
Free Association: Free Association would provide for an independent Puerto Rico with a close relationship to the United States, similar in status to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. . . . Their citizens may work and attend schools in the United States, but they are not U.S. citizens. (page 25)
Independence: The President and Congress should commit to preserving U.S. citizenship for Puerto Rican residents who are U.S. citizens at the time of any transition to Independence, if the people of Puerto Rico choose a status option that results in Puerto Rico’s Independence.
[As explained later in Congressional Research Service Report (Political Status of Puerto Rico: Options for Congress; R. Sam Garrett, June 7, 2011, #7-5700): “If Puerto Ricans chose independence, the task force recommended that U.S. citizenship should be preserved for those who are already U.S. citizens.” (Emphasis added)]
The general rule is that citizenship follows sovereignty. So if Puerto Rico were to become an independent nation, Puerto Rico’s residents could become citizens of the newly independent nation and cease to be citizens of the United States, unless a different rule were prescribed by legislation or treaty. (Page 7)
Another possible model of independence is that of the freely associated states of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau….[I]t would need to be made clear to the people of Puerto Rico that freely associated status is a form of independence from the United States and cannot be made immune from the possibility of unilateral termination by the United States. (page 8)
Any planning for Puerto Rican independence would need to consider citizenship. Individuals born in Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States by statute (rather than by being born or naturalized in the United States). The general rule is that citizenship follows sovereignty. So if Puerto Rico were to become an independent sovereign nation, those who chose to become citizens of it or had U.S. citizenship only by statute would cease to be citizens of the United States, unless a different rule were prescribed by legislation or treaty, much as citizens of the Philippines lost their status as U.S. nationals once the Philippines became independent. (Page 9)
[I]t would need to be made clear to the people of Puerto Rico that freely associated status is a form of independence from the United States and cannot (absent an amendment of the U.S. Constitution) be made immune from the possibility of unilateral termination by the United States. (Page 9)
Executive Branch Statements: Statements by Senior Administration Officials
- Letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney General Robert Raben, Office of Legislative Affairs to former Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair, Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK), January 18, 2001.
[T]here is at least an argument that individuals possessing United States citizenship would have a constitutional right to retain citizenship even if they continue to reside in Puerto Rico after independence. … On the other hand, there is also case law dating from early republic supporting the proposition that nationality follows sovereignty. (Page 4)
[T]he mutual consent stipulation (i.e. that the grant of citizenship cannot be altered except by mutual consent) is… constitutionally unenforceable.
If Puerto Rico is to become an independent nation, then, while Congress may well have the power to provide…that persons born in Puerto Rico in the future shall acquire United States citizenship, we think Congress could also change that rule and provide that, in the future, birth in Puerto Rico shall no longer be a basis for United States citizenship. (Page 10)
There is an argument that the Constitution would ensure that those who possessed United States citizenship at the time of Puerto Rican independence must be able to retain that citizenship after independence…but there is also case law supporting the proposition that nationality follows the flag … As noted, it is unclear how a court would resolve this issue. (Page 11)
- William M. Treanor, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Hearing on H.R. 4751, October 4, 2000.
[S]o long as Puerto Rico remains part of the United States, citizenship that has been granted is constitutionally protected… [but] envisioning the creation of an independent nation, the constitutional analysis is more complicated. There is case law that indicates that a change in sovereignty severs the individual’s ties with the country that had previously exercised sovereignty over the place that person inhabits. (Pages 18-20)
- Robert Dalton, Assistant Legal Advisor for Treaty Affairs, U.S. Department of State; House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Hearing on H.R. 4751, October 4, 2000.
We have concern about the proposal that would legislate dual nationality for residents of Puerto Rico, since it appears to be grounded in the recognition of the conferred citizenship on citizens of another nation, which is incompatible with the notion of sovereignty. There are also problems that are explained in my testimony about the diplomatic protection of U.S. citizens who would be in Puerto Rico and the responsibilities that a United States embassy would have under U.S. law to protect those rights. (Pages 20-22)
We have concern about the proposal that would legislate dual nationality for residents of Puerto Rico, since it appears to be grounded in the recognition of the conferred citizenship on citizens of another nation, which is incompatible with the notion of sovereignty. There are also problems that are explained in my testimony about the diplomatic protection of U.S. citizens who would be in Puerto Rico and the responsibilities that a United States embassy would have under U.S. law to protect those rights. (page 20)
- Dick Thornburgh, Former U.S. Attorney General; House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Hearing on H.R. 4751, October 4, 2000.
Real free association would be a treaty-based relationship that would end U.S. sovereignty, nationality, and citizenship in Puerto Rico in favor of separate sovereignty, nationality, and citizenship for Puerto Rico.
In contrast to political union and the U.S. constitutional system of federalism, real free association is the same ultimate status as independence. While a close association by treaty can be negotiated, free association is terminable at will by either party consistent with the right of both parties to national independence. Otherwise, the association would not be free. If it were meant to be unalterable without mutual consent, that would mean each party would be able to deny the right of independence to the other. That would be a continuation of a colonial and territorial status by another name.
We can negotiate forever, but the central elements of this enhanced commonwealth formula remain unconstitutional and, therefore, non-negotiable. The central provisions which are constitutionally unavailable include permanent union other than Statehood, statutory guarantee of U.S. citizenship in the future without Statehood, binding Congress to the terms of this formula as an unalterable pact, a binding right of specific consent to changes in statutory policy or application of Federal laws, exemption of Puerto Rico from the Territorial Clause without Statehood, and exemption of Puerto Rico from the supremacy of Federal law in all matters. Trying to make these central provisions acceptable legally or politically without changing their meaning to conform to territorial status would frankly be a waste of time for Puerto Rico and for the Congress
Rep. Doolittle. Just to sum up the intent of my question, let us say, then, while there is disagreement–well, there is not even disagreement. You are saying, those who have got citizenship, we may not be able to remove that as a Congress, but for example, what if we passed a law that said, in the future, people not yet having citizenship but subsequently born to parents in Puerto Rico would no longer be considered U.S. citizens. Do you all believe that that would be within our power?
Mr. Thornburgh. Yes, I do.
- Dick Thornburgh, Former U.S. Attorney General; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: Implications of Independence for Puerto Rico, June 23, 1998.*
Whether in the form of full independence or free association, separate sovereignty would end U.S. sovereignty, nationality and citizenship in Puerto Rico in favor of full sovereignty, nationality and citizenship for Puerto Rico as a new and separate member of the world community. Puerto Rico would then take its place alongside the other island nations of the Caribbean and every other nation in the world and as a sovereign republic.
I think when you look at the policy questions and what occurred in the Philippines when it changed from a commonwealth to a republic, Congress did not continue statutory U.S. nationality for residents of the Philippines and they did not create U.S. citizenship or provide by law or treaty for dual U.S. citizenship under the free association treaties with the Pacific Islands that we discussed earlier.
Congress should clarify the choices presented to the people of Puerto Rico to remove any confusion that there is a “have it both ways” option with permanent dual citizenship and shared sovereignty. In reality, in order for free association or any form of independence to succeed, there must be a succession of state process in which there is a transfer of sovereignty, nationality and citizenship from one nation to another. Puerto Rico must become a truly independent nation constitutionally and under international law in order to enter into free association with the U.S.
- Jeff Farrow, Co-Chair, the President’s Interagency Group on Puerto Rico; House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Hearing on H.R. 4751, October 4, 2000.
—[I]t is our position that as long as the U.S. flag flies in Puerto Rico, we ought to continue to grant citizenship. If Puerto Rico is to become a nation, then it would be in–I will not be the constitutional witness here, I will let Mr. Treanor do it for the Justice Department, but it would be–we have already taken the position and reiterated that we should not continue to grant citizenship and we can discontinue the grant of citizenship if Puerto Rico is to become a nation, if it is not to be a territory of the United States. (Page 27)
- Mary V. Mochary, Department of State Principal Deputy Legal Adviser, Testimony before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (July 11, 1989).
The United States under no circumstances should cede its power to determine citizenship by the issuance of U.S. passports[.] Apart from constitutional concerns, there are foreign policy concerns and sound practical reasons for opposing these provisions so that control over the issuance of U.S. passports and immigration remains in the hands of a Federal authority. Chief among these are law enforcement interests and the need to promote the uniform issuance of passports. (Page 154)
- Howard Hills, Former Legal Counsel and Advisor for the Department of Defense; Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of House International Relations Committee and Native American and Insular Affairs Subcommittee of House Resources Committee: Hearing on Puerto Rican Plebiscite, October 17, 1995.
Those who say the citizenship issue should not be raised because it is a scare tactic are missing the point. For the question of federal power respecting statutory citizenship goes to the very essence of the problem with the current judicial and political definitions of federal power in the insular areas. For example, in his 1989 legal analysis of this issue, J. H. Killian, American Law Division, Congressional Research Services, concluded that “ … the limitation of the first sentence of Section I of the Fourteenth Amendment would not restrain Congress, discretion in legislating about the citizenship status of Puerto Rico.”
Congressional Research Service Reports
As residents of a sovereign independent nation, Puerto Ricans could develop closer ties to Caribbean nations, but would likely be forced to choose between citizenship in the United States or in Puerto Rico. (Page 27)
- Johnny H. Killian, American Constitutional Law Senior Specialist, Congressional Research Service; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: Implications of Independence for Puerto Rico, June 23, 1998.*
As a general matter, we might present the principal settlement to be a prospective resolution of the citizenship of those born in Puerto Rico following the attainment of independence and the retrospective resolution of the citizenship of those who are now United States citizens.
We assume that in terms of prospective settlement, Congress would simply provide that persons born in the newly-independent Puerto Rico would not receive United States citizenship. It would be possible to permit the continued receipt of United States citizenship, creating a dual-citizen status for every person born in Puerto Rico thereafter, but this resolution would be literally unprecedented and unlikely to be a choice Congress would make. So, if this is the congressional view, persons born after independence in Puerto Rico would be citizens of Puerto Rico but not citizens of the United States.
Congressional Committee Reports
- Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Report 114-311 to accompany S. 2360, Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), August 30, 2016 (noting practical problems with FAS citizens within the U.S. due to lack of citizenship).
Under the Compacts of Free Association, FAS citizens, who are otherwise eligible, are admitted without visa to study, work and reside in the United States and its territories. Admission at ports of entry in the Pacific, especially Guam and Hawaii, seldom pose a problem for legal FAS migrants. Once in the continental United States, however, FAS migrants can encounter state, local and private authorities who are not aware of their Compact privileges to study, work and live in the United States. (Page 7)
- House Committee on Resources: Report to accompany H.R. 856, Chairman Don Young (R-AK), June 12, 1997.*
[A] Congressional Research Service (CRS) legal analysis in 1990 confirmed that establishment of separate Puerto Rican sovereignty would appear to provide the legal basis for Congress to withdraw statutory citizenship without violating due process.
[I]n a separate sovereignty scenario, U.S. nationality and citizenship would no longer be conferred on persons born in Puerto Rico as of the date U.S. sovereignty ends, or perhaps even earlier during the transition period.
To ensure the successful succession of state to nationhood for Puerto Rico and avoid the impairment of U.S. and Puerto Rican sovereignty that would inevitably result from a grant of mass dual citizenship, the Committee expects Congress to include in any status legislation for Puerto Rico the provisions in H.R. 856 which end continued statutory U.S. citizenship based on birth in Puerto Rico during the territorial period upon acquisition of any other citizenship, including that of Puerto Rico. This approach would not prevent dual citizenship on an individual case-by-case basis if the U.S. citizenship of the person was acquired on a legal basis other than birth in Puerto Rico or a relationship to a person whose U.S. citizenship is based on birth in the territory. It will, however, prevent conversion of the current statutory U.S. citizenship into automatic dual citizenship as a result of a change of status to separate sovereignty. (Page 14)
- José Serrano (D-NY); Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: Referendum on Status of Puerto Rico, July 15, 1998.
More important, the U.S. citizenship conveyed by law to people born in Puerto Rico could be affected by the outcome of the referendum. I have no doubt that this Congress can pass a law to take my citizenship away from me and rescind the citizenship of all born in Puerto Rico. I am clear on the fact that my son’s citizenship is different from mine. His is protected by the Constitution of the United States and mine is statutory.
- Former Rep. Dale Kildee (D-NJ); House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Hearing on H.R. 4751, October 4, 2000.
What I cannot really understand is how can Puerto Rico actually be a real nation and at the same time rely upon U.S. programs and rely upon U.S. citizenship. I mean, it is just baffling. (Page 28)
- Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY); Senate Finance Committee: Full Committee Hearing on S. 712, April 26, 1990.
Temporary economic advantages can help prepare a society for statehood but can never indefinitely outweigh the civil advantage of full citizenship, which only statehood can confirm. I look to a Puerto Rico that appears at our portals asserting that the obligation of citizenship can never be fully met by a citizenship that is incomplete. (Page 103)
Congressional Testimony by Legal Authorities
- Walter Dellinger, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law; House Committee on Natural Resources: Full Committee Hearing on H.R. 4751, October 4, 2000.
At this time, I wish only to make clear that Congress cannot promise the people of the United States and Puerto Rico that these policies and this structure will be permanent and irrevocable. The Bill’s guarantees of permanent union, a system that may not be unilaterally revoked, and its irrevocable grant of U.S. citizenship to all persons born in Puerto Rico are illusory and unenforceable.
Under the present commonwealth arrangement, established by statute in 1950, Congress has already adopted many of the elements contained in H.R. 4751. Congress has also enacted a statute providing that all persons born in Puerto Rico acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. However, these statutory policies are discretionary and continue at the pleasure of Congress. As a result, despite the misleadingly comforting language of H.R. 4751, Congress can unilaterally alter all such statutory policies at will. Thus, to obtain genuinely permanent political union defined and protected under the U.S. Constitution, and to ensure for all times that birth in Puerto Rico will confer U.S. citizenship, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico will have to follow the example of other commonwealths like Virginia and Massachusetts and seek admission to statehood.
* Transcript not available at this time.
Pingback: Puerto Rico votes on statehood on Sunday
**Statutory (by Law) US Citizenship is NOT-permanent-includes Puerto Ricans**
RESEARCH-FACTS are–the US Congress, under the 1917 Jones Act, provided a statutory US Citizenship for the “unincorporated” US Territory of Puerto Rico, and allowed those born in Puerto Rico to be US Citizens at birth… But, a statutory US Citizenship (under the Territorial Clause; Insular Cases), is not fully protected by the 14th Amendment (that doesn’t mention Territories)…! Also, any Law a Congress makes, can normally be revoked by Congress! Thus, those statutory US Citizens born in Puerto Rico don’t have a permanent US Citizenship, no matter where they reside (even in a State), because it is statutory (by Law)… The only way for a permanent US Citizenship is through STATEHOOD!
• The 14th Amendment states: “All Persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the US and of the State wherein they reside…”
o The 14th Amendment doesn’t mention “Territory” or being born as a statutory US Citizen in an “un-incorporated” US Territory… It mentions you are a US Citizen of the “State wherein they reside…” Thus, protecting those born in the States or Naturalized in the States; and not protecting statutory US Citizenship which is at the will of our US Congress…
• Rogers vs Bellei (1971) ruling confirms that Congress can grant citizenship to persons who don’t acquire it under the 14th Amendment, but all such statutory citizenship laws exist at the pleasure of Congress. That means Congress can make acquisition and retention of statutory citizenship conditional and revocable.
o It also means federal citizenship laws remain subject to amendment or repeal as to persons born outside a State of the Union, including those born in “unincorporated” territories like Puerto Rico.
• The 1997 Congressional GAO Report-U.S. INSULAR AREAS Application of the U.S. Constitution, states: “Citizenship is derived either from the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution or from a specific statute that confers citizenship on the inhabitants of an area that, although not a state, is under the sovereignty of the United States. Such legislation has been enacted for Puerto Rico (8 USC § 1402)…”
• CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE (1989)- confirmed that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States but is not in the United States. “Whatever its exact status and relationship to the United States,” CRS cautioned, “Puerto Rico is not itself in the United States.” The 14th amendment, according to CRS, therefore doesn’t apply to people born in Puerto Rico.
• US President Task Force on PR Status (2004 & 2006) “If P.R. were to become independent “… those…who had U.S. Citizenship only by statute would cease to be citizens of the United States, unless a different rule were prescribed by legislation…” (Page 9) (US Congress can revoke a Statutory US Citizenship, even if residing in a State…)
• Tuaua v. United States (2016)- CONFIRMED- the legal nature of U.S. nationality and citizenship law in “unincorporated” territories–the Constitution’s 14th amendment does not apply to people born in a U.S. Territory, per, Territorial Clause and Insular Cases-which decided that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply entirely to unincorporated territories like Puerto Rico… This is standing law!
o In reality, even people born in Puerto Rico at this time as an “unincorporated” U.S. territory do not have any right to U.S. citizenship under the U.S. Constitution as it applies in a State of the Union. Rather, persons who are not born in a State of the Union do not acquire citizenship unless Congress exercises its discretionary power to grant citizenship by statute (can be revoked).
o That is why federal statute law (8 USC 1401) had to be enacted to provide for naturalization of persons born outside a State of the Union based on relationship to a U.S. citizen parent.
o Any statutory right of citizenship derived from a parent’s citizenship allowed by Congress can be repealed as to all children born in the future.
o That includes persons born in U.S. territories even while under U.S. sovereignty, and certainly upon becoming sovereign. As the court’s ruling in Bellei quoted makes clear, even the first generation born after territorial status ends can and will be denied derivative U.S. citizenship based on parent citizenship acquired during the territorial period.
• This truth is masked in a recent U.S. Department of Justice letter and White House reports on Puerto Rico’s status also have been somewhat vague, but at least recognize that even sovereignty with a treaty of free association is a form of Independence leading to loss of citizenship at some point in future…
• Congressional reports adopted by committees with jurisdiction for territories, as well as Congressional Research Service, reports, make it clear U.S. citizenship will end if U.S. sovereignty ends in Puerto Rico. See U.S. House of Representatives Report 105-131, Part 1, pp. 13-14; pp. 35-38.
• The inapplicability of 14th Amendment outside a State of the Union also explains why for “unincorporated” territories like Puerto Rico Congress had to enact a federal statute (8 USC 1402) to provide statutory rather than constitutional birthright citizenship based on birth in Puerto Rico.
• In Bellei the highest federal court rejected the claim of a person with statutory citizenship that vague notions of “due process” required expansion of constitutional 14th Amendment citizenship to U.S. territory outside a State of the Union.
• US Attorney General Dick Thornburgh (& Under Secretary of the United Nations)—in “THE STATUS OF PUERTO RICO A CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR SELF-DETERMINATION” (2007) and in other Writings States: “Four million U.S. citizens live under the U.S. flag in Puerto Rico, yet they can neither vote for president nor have voting representation in Congress, which enacts the federal laws under which they live. Residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories are deprived of basic rights of self-determination that U.S. citizens generally enjoy and that the United States has committed itself to achieving for peoples around the globe.”
o “Political gridlock in Congress and in Puerto Rico has stymied efforts to put Puerto Rico on a path toward a permanent political status that ensures full self-government for its residents. If Congress does not act soon, U.S. courts may be asked to give more serious consideration to whether the residents of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories have political and human rights under U.S. and international law that can no longer be ignored by the political branches of government.”
o Besides, Thornburgh states: “The ruling of the Supreme Court in Rogers v. Bellei 401 U.S. 815 (1970), regarding the nature of statutory citizenship is consistent with the conclusion that even a statutory extension of the Fourteenth Amendment to Puerto Rico could not limit the discretion of Congress to amend or repeal that statutory extension.”
• Afroyim v. Rusk (1967), established that citizens of the United States cannot be deprived of their citizenship involuntarily. But—
o The national citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not the source of U.S. citizenship for any person born in Puerto Rico. That means the Afroyim case defining constitutional citizenship rights, applies only to U.S. citizens born or naturalized under the 14th Amendment as it applies in a State of the Union.
o It was not the Afroyim ruling, but rather the case of Rogers v. Bellei in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the legal nature of U.S. citizenship granted at the discretion of Congress by federal statutory law, based on birth or naturalization outside a State of the Union. Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory that has not been “incorporated” under the U.S. Constitution, so the national citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment as interpreted in the Afroyim case is not the source of citizenship in the territory.
• 8 USC Code, CH 12, SUB-CH III: NATIONALITY & NATURALIZATION-can be amended or revoked by US Congress).
*Part I- Nationality at Birth and Collective Naturalization:
o Code §1401. Nationals and citizens of United States at birth US Citizenship (Covers all US Citizens–including Sen. McCain, but, not statutory US Citizens which are covered under a different Status… (Maybe so it can be easier to amend, revoke or change in the future…?)
o Code §1402: “All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899, and prior to January 13, 1941, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, residing on January 13, 1941, in Puerto Rico or other territory over which the United States exercises rights of sovereignty and not citizens of the United States under any other Act, are declared to be citizens of the United States as of January 13, 1941. All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are Citizens of the US at birth.” **NOTE: Statutory US Citizenship is by a Law that can be revoked and it is not by “birthright”… nor fully protected by the 14th Amendment nor Due Process (which doesn’t cover suffrage…; see below.)
The question–Why wasn’t the statutory US Citizens from the” unincorporated” US Territory of Puerto Rico included in the amended Part I §1401– that includes all other Citizens of the US as “birthright” and “jus soli” (right of soil) or under *Part II: Nationality Through Naturalization-(doesn’t mention statutory US Citizenship or Territories…)? Answer: Because, statutory US Citizenship can be revoked!
Claims that Puerto Rico can have the same citizenship rights as states, even if it remains a territory or becomes sovereign, are just a desperate and deceitful attempt to suppress the pro-statehood vote.
In SUM: There are two sources of US Citizenship: one by the 14th Amendment that is permanent; another by US Congress that is statutory (by Law); can be revoked, especially if an unincorporated US Territory is grant Independence… Besides, you can’t be a sovereign Nation with the Citizenship of another Nation! Where would the loyalty lie? Congress, in 1917, imposed a “statutory” 2d Class US Citizenship through a Statue/Law that a future Congress can rescind; created a 2d Class US Citizenship for millions of fellow US Citizens-American Veterans in the US Territory of Puerto Rico and those Statutory US Citizens, residing in a State, have a non-permanent US Citizenship at the will of the US Congress; not fully protected by the 14th amendment (that only protects those born in a State-“birthright” or naturalized… in a State there-in)!
**U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the legal nature of statutory citizenship for children “born abroad,” which means outside a State of the Union, including territory under U.S. sovereign rule but, not incorporated under the U.S. Constitution:
• “The first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment has no application…The claim thus must center in the statutory power of Congress…’naturalization by descent’ was…dependent, instead, upon statutory enactment…’But it [the first sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment] has not touched the acquisition of citizenship by being born abroad of American parents; and has left that subject to be regulated, as it had always been, by Congress, in the exercise of the power conferred by the Constitution to establish an uniform rule of naturalization.’ …there emerged an express constitutional definition of citizenship. But it was one restricted…
• The definition obviously did not apply to any acquisition of citizenship by being born abroad of an American parent. That type, and any other not covered by the Fourteenth Amendment, was necessarily left to proper congressional action…
• The Court has specifically recognized the power of Congress not to grant a United States citizen the right to transmit citizenship by descent…This takes us, then, to the issue of the constitutionality of the exercise of that congressional power when it is used…We conclude that its imposition is not unreasonable, arbitrary, or unlawful, and that it withstands the present constitutional challenge…
• Congress has no ‘power, express or implied, to take away an American citizen’s citizenship without his assent,’ Afroyim v. Rusk…But, as pointed out above, these were utterances bottomed upon Fourteenth Amendment citizenship and that Amendment’s direct reference to ‘persons born or naturalized in the United States.’
• We do not accept the notion that those utterances are now to be judicially extended to citizenship not based upon the Fourteenth Amendment and to make citizenship an absolute. That it is not an absolute is demonstrated by the fact that even Fourteenth Amendment citizenship by naturalization, when unlawfully procured, may be set aside…A contrary holding would convert what is congressional generosity into something unanticipated and obviously undesired by the Congress…”
No Nation can be sovereign with the Citizenship of another Nation; will not be acceptable to our US Constitution…. Where will the Loyalty Lie?
Independence (without or with Free Association) will mean the loss of US Citizenship… But, the US Congress can Naturalize statutory US Citizens residing in the States…
The US Congress is not above the US Constitution or can it relinquish any Powers granted by the US Constitution to create a non-Constitutional Status…
By: Dennis Freytes-Florida Veterans Hall of Fame
*Puerto Rico INDEPENDENCE (With or Without PACT)– means loss of non-permanent statutory US Citizenship*
Where will the Loyalty be? No Nation can be Sovereign with the Citizenship of another Nation…; will not be acceptable to our US Constitution or Federal Government… Independence (without or with PACT-Free Association) will mean the loss of US Citizenship …
REASON: Statutory US Citizenship is given by an ACT (or Law) of the US Congress. It is NOT fully protected by the US Constitution Amendment 14 (which doesn’t mention Territories). This is under the Sovereignty of the US; NOT the Sovereignty of another Nation.
The Jones Act (1917) is the source of US Citizenship for US Statutory Citizens that is not applicable to a new Sovereign Nation.
But, the US Congress can Naturalize statutory US Citizens residing in the States, under our US Constitution, Amendment 14, to make their statutory US Citizenship permanent.
The US Congress is not above the US Constitution or can it relinquish any Powers granted by the US Constitution to create a non-Constitutional Status… or grant permanent statutory Citizenship to Citizens of another Sovereign Nation…
United with Truth, Reason, Courage, and Civic Action–for the Good of ALL!
By: Dennis Freytes-Florida Veterans Hall of Fame; Community Servant Leader
From what i can determine out of all this discussion is that the citizens of Puerto Rico need to determine their fate by voting on ONLY TWO (2) options: Statehood or Independence.
The current system cannot provide for the improvement of the majority of the citizens of the Island. The Free Associated State, (FAS), alternative is a WORSE choice than Independence. The Island needs to show the U.S. it is serious by voting for one of the options by at least a 65% majority. This number represents a two thirds majority and shows an acceptable majority. Anything else is not a number to sufficiently qualify for any action.
What’s a Freely Associated State?
Whoever wrote “What’s a Free….” Composed a legal work of art that should be immediately translated into Spanish, printed in every News Paper in Puerto and frequently, yes frequently, broadcasted – at prime times – every day through the months of December 2021 and January 2022.
The article is an excellent writing of much needed information that the voting public of Puerto Rico need to know and understand.
RF McD, IE