Puerto Rican National Identity

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Introduction Less than half of Americans know that the people of Puerto Rico are legal citizens of the United States (Venator-Santiago). This predominantly has to do with the gray areas that have been established through contradictory and confusing legislation imposed upon the commonwealth regarding its residents’ status throughout time, hence aiding in the creation of a national identity that’s not trenchantly defined, neither in the eyes of its inhabitants nor of those of the mainland. Puerto Rico used to be a Spanish colony, and it wasn’t until the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898 that the island was handed to the U.S. On the authority of Charles Venator-Santiago (2017), coordinator of the Puerto Rican Citizenship Archives…show more content…
In Puerto Rico’s first days as an American colony, Congress didn’t want to give its occupants the impression that they were held equal to those of the commonwealth, as affirmed by Font-Guzman (2017), professor of law and conflict studies, and director of the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program at Creighton University Graduate School. Thus, Senator Foraker granted them their own government and instead of adopting Puerto Ricans as their own, they were given Puerto Rican citizenship. If they wished to become U.S. citizens they had to endure the naturalization process, the same as foreign immigrants. From that year on, hundreds of bills about Puerto Rico’s citizenship status were debated, periodically changing the extent of the application of human…show more content…
Interestingly, when Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony, the Autonomic Charter of 1897 had actually granted them an input in their courts, unlike the U.S. has done in the past hundred years that it’s owned the island (Font-Guzman). This issue was debated in the court case Igartua de la Rosa v. United States in 1994, but a consensus was reached that the constitution mentions this privilege only applies to “states,” and as was previously declared, Puerto Rico is merely a colony (Smith). Later in 2005, the issue was discussed again and the additional comment was made that since Puerto Rico is unincorporated and was not meant to be a state like the formerly incorporated territories of Hawaii or Alaska, all constitutional rights don’t apply, as stated by The Atlantic writer Newkirk II, focused on covering politics and policy, and the United States General Accounting Office. The only effort shown on behalf of the United States’ part has been to provide Puerto Rico with one non-voting member in the House of Representatives, and even if their opinion was being taken into account, that’s still only one person against four hundred and thirty-five. Puerto Rican affairs are not being explored or studied to the magnitude that they should be, and consequently not being solved. If the
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