A 2017 survey found that only 54% Americans know that people born on the Island of Puerto Rico are, by birth, U.S. citizens. This statistic illustrates the lack of information as to Puerto Rico’s unique relationship with the United States and why our first goal at BoricuActívatEd is to better educate those on the US mainland.
PUERTO RICO BECAME A US TERRITORY AFTER THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR IN 1898, WHEN SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE ISLAND WAS PASSED FROM SPAIN TO THE UNITED STATES. IN 1952, PUERTO RICO BECAME A COMMONWEALTH WITH ITS OWN CONSTITUTION AND STATE GOVERNMENT. SOME STILL CALL IT A TERRITORY, OTHERS A COLONY. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT PUERTO RICO IS UNDER THE US FLAG AND ITS CITIZENS ARE BORN US CITIZENS JUST LIKE ANY US CITIZEN BORN IN KENTUCKY OR MONTANA.
SINCE 1917, PUERTO RICANS ARE NATURAL-BORN CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AND MAY MOVE FREELY BETWEEN THE ISLAND AND THE MAINLAND.
OVER 250,000 PUERTO RICANS HAVE SERVED WITH DISTINCTION IN THE US ARMED FORCES IN EVERY CONFLICT SINCE WORLD WAR I. IN FACT, THE ALL-PUERTO RICAN 65TH INFANTRY REGIMENT IS THE ONLY HISPANIC GROUP OF SOLIDIERS TO BE AWARDED THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL FOR BRAVERY IN THE KOREAN WAR.
ALL RESIDENTS OF PUERTO RICO PAY THE SAME PAYROLL TAXES AS THE RESIDENTS OF THE STATES. ALL INCOME SOURCED IN THE US IS SUBJECT TO TAXATION AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ON THE ISLAND PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAXES. ALTHOUGH FEDERAL INCOME TAXES ON PUERTO RICO SOURCED INCOME DOESN’T APPLY, PUERTO RICANS HELP PAY FOR FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY FUNDS THORUGH THEIR INSURANCE TAXES
As a U.S. territory, American citizens residing on the island do not vote for president and vice president of the United States in the general election.
3.4 MILLION LIVE ON THE ISLAND, WHILE 5 MILLION ON THE MAINLAND WERE BORN IN OR TRACE FAMILY ANCESTRY TO PUERTO RICO.
Prosperity on the Island, in large measure depends on how engaged US mainland Puerto Ricans and their allies are. When they understand their political importance and learn how to influence U.S. policy toward Puerto Rico, we all benefit.
Every resident in the 50 states can begin this process by first understanding how to interact with and influence their Member of Congress.