Archive for April, 2011

Recommendation #7: BY THE PRESIDENT’S TASK FORCE ON PUERTO RICO’S STATUS

April 30, 2011

 Recommendation # 7:

 If efforts on the Island do not provide a clear result in the short term, the President  should support,

 and Congress should enact, self-executing legislation that specifies in advance for  

the people of Puerto Rico a set of acceptable status options that the United States is

politically committed to fulfilling. This legislation should commit the United

States to honor the choice of the people of Puerto Rico (provided it is one of the status options specified

in the legislation) and should specify the means by which such a choice would be made. The Task

Force recommends that, by the end of 2012, the Administration develop, draft, and work with

Congress to enact the proposed legislation.

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Territories of the United States

April 16, 2011

Territories of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Territories of the United States are one type of political division of the United States, overseen directly by the federal government of the United States and not any part of a U.S. state. These territories were created to govern newly acquired land while the borders of the United States were still evolving. Territories can be classified by whether they are incorporated (part of the United States proper) and whether they have an organized government (through an Organic Act passed by the U.S. Congress or a territorial constitution (and functioning legislature), as the region was striving for statehood).

Many organized incorporated territories of the United States existed from 1789 to 1959, through which 31 territories applied for and achieved statehood. In the process of organizing and promoting territories to statehood, many unorganized territories were orphaned from the parts of a larger territory wherein the whole was ineligible, usually demographically lacking sufficient development and population densities at the time a vote could be taken petitioning congress for statehood rights.

The U.S. had no unincorporated territories (also called “overseas possessions” or “insular areas“) until 1856 but continues to control several of them today.

An incorporated territory of the United States is a specific area under the jurisdiction of the United States, over which the United States Congress has determined that the United States Constitution is to be applied to the territory’s local government and inhabitants in its entirety (e.g., citizenshiptrial by jury), in the same manner as it applies to the local governments and residents of the U.S. states. Incorporated territories are considered an integral part of the United States, as opposed to being merely possessions.[1] 

Incorporated and unincorporated territories

All territory under the control of the federal government is considered part of the “United States” for purposes of law.[2] From 1901 to 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of opinions known as the Insular Cases held that the Constitution extended ex proprio vigore to the territories. However, the Court in these cases also established the doctrine of territorial incorporation. Under the same, the Constitution only applied fully in incorporated territories such as Alaska and Hawaii, whereas it only applied partially in the new unincorporated territories of Puerto RicoGuam and the Philippines.[3][4]

In the contemporary sense, the term “unincorporated territory” refers primarily to insular areas. There is currently only one incorporated territory, Palmyra Atoll, which is not an organized territory. Conversely, a territory can be organized without being an incorporated territory, a contemporary example being Puerto Rico.

See organized incorporated territories of the United States and unincorporated territories of the United States for timelines.

Organized incorporated territories of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Organized incorporated territories are those territories of the United States that are both incorporated (part of the United States proper) andorganized (having an organized government authorized by an Organic Act passed by the U.S. Congress usually consisting of a territorial legislature, territorial governor, and a basic judicial system).

Through most of U.S. history, regions that were admitted as U.S. states were, prior to admission, territories of this kind. As the United States grew, the most populous parts of the organized territory would achieve statehood. The remainder frequently kept at least some of the governing structure of the old legal entity (territory) and would be renamed to avoid confusion.

Some examples of this progression include (each grouping involves an original territory’s lands legally disposed of over time from left to right):

Many such regions took a further decades long growth period before their incorporated lands could petition for admission as states. For instance, parts of both the original Louisiana Territory and the younger Oregon Territory took over fifty years to achieve statehood — Idaho and Montana.

In 2011, the only incorporated territory of the U.S. is neither an organized possession nor populated — Palmyra Atoll, the unorganized territory in equatorial waters far south of the State of Hawaii. The atoll under international law is an incorporated territory by ‘explorers claim’ and after serving in World War II as a supply and patrol base is only used today by a variable number of staff and researchers. The atoll also happens to be unorganized because it has no permanent occupants to petition for change, just the (rotating) assigned and visiting federal employees.       Current territory

The District of Columbia is functionally similar to an incorporated territory, being fully a part of the United States as a non-state, but is classified separately as it was established under the unique constitutional provision for a federal capital rather than through Congressional authority over federal territory generally.

All other current U.S. territories are unincorporated (meaning that they are not fully part of the United States, with all aspects of the United States Constitution applying automatically), whereas other former incorporated territories are now states.

The following territories within the United States were officially organized by Congress with an Organic Act on the first date listed. Each was admitted as a U.S. state (of the same name, except where noted) on the second date listed. Often, larger outlying portions of a organized territory were not included in the new state.

Quiere llegar a la Casa Blanca

April 15, 2011

Quiere llegar a la Casa Blanca (vídeo)
Milly Méndez, EL VOCERO   (abril 15, 2011)

El ex gobernador de Minnesota, Timothy Pawlenty, no es conocido en Puerto Rico, pero en el ruedo político republicano local no es una figura ajena. El aspirante a la candidatura presidencial de Estados Unidos por el Partido Republicano estuvo de visita por la Isla del Encanto para levantar fondos para su campaña electoral.

No es la primera vez que Pawlenty está en Puerto Rico. El político ha viajado en varias ocasiones, ya que es muy amigo del gobernador Luis Fortuño.

EL VOCERO entrevistó a Pawlenty y dentro del breve espacio otorgado, el hombre de 50 años con raíces alemanas y polacas, nos expresó su sentir sobre el status de Puerto Rico, lo que piensa de Fortuño, las fallas -a su juicio- del presidente Barack Obama en temas de política pública nacional e internacional, el recorte presupuestario que implementó el Congreso y su clara aspiración para convertirse en el oponente republicano de Obama en las elecciones generales de Estados Unidos en el 2012.
Fortuño vicepresidente

El nombre de Luis Fortuño ha sonado como posible compañero de papeleta de Pawlenty de surgir como candidato presidencial, y el aspirante se reafirmó.

“Siempre menciono a Luis Fortuño. Él es un gran amigo y una gran persona. Además de su gran visión para Puerto Rico, lo conozco como una persona de gran carácter e integridad. Tiene un gran corazón. Cuando hablamos del futuro del Partido Republicano y el futuro de América, damos ejemplos de líderes emergentes de nuestra Nación. Siempre mencionamos su nombre porque se lo merece. Es tremendo líder y persona”.

EV: Así que ¿es una posibilidad?

Pawlenty: “Absolutamente”.

Sin embargo, Pawlenty no tiene la misma perspectiva sobre el presidente Barack Obama. En varias ocasiones cuestionó su capacidad intelectual para llevar las riendas de los Estados Unidos.

EV: Barack Obama, ¿está más allá de su capacidad mental (way over his head) en el gasto público?

Pawlenty: “Creo que está más allá de su capacidad mental en todo. Aquí tenemos a una persona que nunca ha corrido nada, nunca ha tenido una posición ejecutiva. Llega a esta posición (Presidente) con muy poca experiencia y credenciales. Hice expresiones al respecto también sobre sus posturas en eventos internacionales, su política exterior y asuntos de seguridad. Está manejando estos temas de manera tardía. Sus posturas son débiles y ambiguas”.

EV: El recorte presupuestario de más de $38 mil millones que aprobó el Congreso la pasada semana, ¿es ese el camino correcto a seguir a pesar de que podría impactar muchos programas que brindan servicio directo al pueblo?

Pawlenty: “Estamos aprendiendo más sobre esos $38 billones y una gran tajada de eso no es un recorte real. Es dinero que no se iba a utilizar. Aparentemente hubo unos cambios de contabilidad. Parece que será menos. El asunto aquí es que estamos enfocados en la reducción cuando estamos gastando $3.7 trillones este año y probablemente los ingresos sólo alcanzarán los $2.2 trillones…No están atendiendo el problema real”.

EV: El Congreso sigue discutiendo el tema del presupuesto, ¿hay posibilidad de que el Gobierno federal cierre o eso es un asunto del pasado?

Pawlenty: “Yo he pasado por un cierre de gobierno en Minnesota en el 2005. Le exhorté al Congreso que no pasara ese paquete porque no es suficiente. No atiende, en lo más mínimo, la magnitud de los desafíos que enfrentamos como Nación. Todo el mundo en el país se está ajustando los pantalones”.

EV: Indicó que en el 2005 cerró su gobierno durante nueve días. ¿Cerrar el Gobierno es una buena decisión? Aquí en Puerto Rico pasó hace unos años y creó temor entre la población.

Pawlenty: “Fue muy difícil y no estoy diciendo que debe ser algo a lo que debes optar como primera opción. Lo que quiero decir es que llega un momento donde tenemos que establecer un límite e implementar cambios. No es fácil y es algo que no siempre se puede hacer sin enfrentar problemas, pero si vamos a cambiar el Gobierno federal tenemos que encaminarnos hacia la estabilidad financiera. No sólo podemos tener cambios minúsculos que nadie percibirá. La situación es grave. Cerrar el gobierno debe ser la última solución”.

EV: ¿Puerto Rico debe estar preocupado sobre estos recortes en el presupuesto?

Pawlenty: “El recorte del Congreso fue modesto. No parece que vamos a ver cambios de ninguna índole”.

Status

EV: ¿Cree que es justo que unas dos millones de personas elegibles para votar en Puerto Rico no puedan ejercer ese derecho para elegir al presidente de los Estados Unidos?

Pawlenty: “Lo primero que debemos hacer es permitir que el pueblo de Puerto Rico se exprese sobre lo que quiere para el futuro. Esperaré los resultados de esos plebiscitos. Ahora, desde una perspectiva republicana, la plataforma nuestra del 2008 y antes, apoya un camino hacia la estadidad para Puerto Rico, si eso es lo que deciden”.

EV: ¿Ése es el camino correcto para los puertorriqueños?

Pawlenty: “Sí. Pero asegurándonos que el pueblo de Puerto Rico se exprese primero… No queremos imponer nada al pueblo”.

Aspiraciones a la presidencia de EE.UU.

Pawlenty ya estableció su Comité de Campaña Presidencial y reclutó a su equipo de trabajo, dando a entender que sí aspirará a la candidatura republicana rumbo a la Casa Blanca. No obstante, reiteró que no ha hecho el anuncio oficial, pero “eso se dará muy pronto”.

De igual forma, Pawlenty explicó que no ve al ex gobernador de Massachusetts, Mitt Romney -uno de sus contrincantes por la candidatura republicana- no es una amenaza porque sus números sean más atractivos que los suyos. “Los sondeos nacionales se utilizan para medir familiaridad con el nombre, la persona. Lo importante es cómo nos ven en los estados claves (Iowa, Nevada, Florida etc.)…en el próximo año veremos un alza en los números”, adelantó el también escritor, quien promociona su libro Courage to Stand.

No todo ha sido color de rosa para Pawlenty. Tuvo que luchar contra líderes de su propio partido en el 2002 para alcanzar la candidatura a la gobernación en Minnesota, un estado bastante liberal para sus ideas conservadoras. ¿Cómo lo hizo? “Fuimos directo a la gente. Puerta por puerta hasta que logré los endosos”, puntualizó el aspirante, quien se considera un conservador socialista porque entiende que apela “a todos los sectores del Partido Republicano” como también a los electores demócratas e independientes.

“Tengo uno de los mejores récords como gobernador en todo el país”, señaló al aclarar que es leal a los valores republicanos.
Vea la entrevista completa en VOCERO.COM

Habrá consulta de status antes que termine cuatrienio

April 13, 2011

Habrá consulta de status antes que termine cuatrienio

Mensaje de presupuesto

 

En el Informe de Casa Blanca hay otro asunto de enorme importancia que, aunque no

necesariamente nos damos cuenta en el día a día, afecta TODOS los aspectos de

nuestra vida…y es el asunto del status, o sea, el asunto de nuestra relación con los

Estados Unidos, nación de la que somos ciudadanos.

 

Por primera vez en más de 112 años, los Estados Unidos, a través de su Presidente,

nos han puesto en blanco y negro la ruta que debemos seguir—y que ellos están

dispuestos a aceptar—para resolver, de una vez y por todas, el asunto de nuestro

status político. Es una oportunidad HISTÓRICA que no podemos desaprovechar.

En Puerto Rico hemos logrado ya un consenso de que este asunto del status tenemos

que resolverlo cuanto antes. Cada día vemos más claramente que el status—que nos

tiene tan divididos como pueblo—es el principal obstáculo para JUNTOS echar

adelante. Por ejemplo, en días recientes un grupo no partidista de expertos

economistas declaró que Puerto Rico lleva en decadencia los pasados 50 años.

Olvídate de si nuestro actual status nos trajo o no nos trajo beneficios en el pasado; lo

cierto es que hoy en día hasta los que históricamente han defendido el Estado Libre

Asociado, dicen que, como está, ya no sirve y que hay que cambiarlo. Así mismo lo

expresaron en el programa de gobierno que presentaron en las últimas elecciones.

Los que quieren la independencia, obviamente tampoco están de acuerdo con nuestro

status. Y los que creemos en obtener todos los derechos y poderes que tendríamos

como ciudadanos americanos bajo la estadidad, tampoco. En fin, que TODOS,

incluyendo los partidos políticos, estamos de acuerdo en que el status que tenemos

hay que cambiarlo YA. Y tú también lo sabes.

 

La razón principal por la cual nuestro status actual no sirve es porque, como estamos,

no tenemos las herramientas y los poderes que nos hacen falta para echar adelante.

En eso estamos de acuerdo TODOS. El informe de Casa Blanca dice claramente, en

su página 26, que nuestra presente condición política es la de un territorio de los

Estados Unidos, sujeto a la cláusula territorial de la Constitución federal. Eso quiere

decir que no tenemos los poderes necesarios para progresar: ni los que tendríamos si

fuéramos un estado, ni los que tendríamos si fuéramos una república, ya sea

totalmente independiente o en una relación de libre asociación soberana.

 

Esas tres alternativas—la estadidad, la independencia y la libre asociación soberana—

son las tres alternativas que todas las naciones del mundo aceptan, y el mismo Informe

de Casa Blanca reconoce, como no coloniales y no territoriales. El Informe dice

claramente que sólo esas tres alternativas de cambio, Y NINGUNA OTRA, son las que

estarían disponibles para nosotros, y ellos estarían dispuestos a dar, si queremos

cambiar lo que tenemos ahora. De hecho, el Informe descarta de plano la noción de un

Estado Libre Asociado “mejorado” que no tiene cabida en el sistema constitucional

americano.

 

El informe también dice, sin embargo, que al Pueblo hay que darle la oportunidad de

escoger NO CAMBIAR. Así mismo es…el Informe dice que aunque nuestro presente

 

status es el de un territorio sujeto a los poderes del Congreso federal, si eso es lo que

el Pueblo de Puerto Rico quiere, debe tener la opción de mantenerlo.

Mucha gente en mi partido no está de acuerdo con eso. El liderato del Partido

Independentista tampoco está de acuerdo. Ellos dicen que, si el Estado Libre Asociado

como está ES EL PROBLEMA, no puede ser la solución y que, por lo tanto, no debe

estar entre las opciones que se le presenten al Pueblo. Pero nos guste o no, el Informe

de Casa Blanca dice claramente que el Pueblo de Puerto Rico tiene el derecho de

escoger no cambiar, así que vamos a garantizar que el pueblo pueda escoger el

Estado Libre Asociado como está : un territorio dentro de la cláusula territorial de la

Constitución federal, como señala el Informe.

 

El Informe presenta una serie de opciones sobre cómo consultar al Pueblo en cuanto a

este tema del status de manera justa y transparente.

 

Una de las opciones, que el informe detalla en su página 28, propone dos consultas. En

la primera tú tendrías la oportunidad de escoger entre las tres alternativas de cambio

de status que tanto el Informe como el derecho internacional reconocen como

alternativas no-coloniales y no-territoriales: la estadidad, la independencia y la libre

asociación soberana. Luego habría una segunda consulta, en la que tú podrás decidir

si quieres cambiar o no cambiar. En otras palabras, podrás escoger entre la opción de

cambio de status que gane en la primera consulta y la alternativa de quedarnos como

estamos, sin cambio ninguno.

 

En resumen, habría dos consultas: en la primera escogeríamos entre las tres opciones

de cambio de status no territoriales y no coloniales que los Estados Unidos estarían

dispuestos a conceder (estadidad, independencia o libre asociación soberana) y en la

segunda escogeríamos si queremos cambiar o quedarnos como estamos.

 

Después de analizar ésta y las otras opciones que presenta el Informe, he decidido que

esta alternativa es la más justa para que todo el mundo en Puerto Rico pueda expresar

su voluntad de manera directa y transparente.

 

Primero, tal como lo recomienda el Informe, las dos consultas le darán al Pueblo la

oportunidad de ejercer su derecho al voto de manera directa y secreta, como hacemos

en las elecciones en Puerto Rico. Resolver el status es una decisión que debes tomar

tú directamente, con el poder de tu voto directo…no en una asamblea de status

compuesta por políticos reunidos en cuartos oscuros…

 

Segundo, tal como lo recomienda el informe, podrán votar en las consultas todos los

electores hábiles en Puerto Rico. Nos unen estrechos lazos filiales con nuestros

hermanos puertorriqueños que viven en el resto de Estados Unidos y en otros países,

pero el Informe reconoce que la decisión sobre el futuro status de Puerto Rico es

responsabilidad de los vivimos en la Isla.

 

Tercero, TODO el mundo en Puerto Rico podrá votar por su alternativa preferida: los

que quieren la estadidad, los que quieren la independencia, los que quieren la libre

 

asociación soberana y los que quieren que nos quedemos como estamos. TODOS

tendrán la oportunidad de escoger la opción que prefieren.

 

Cuarto, tal y como lo recomienda el informe, daremos suficiente tiempo para que el

Pueblo reciba toda la información que necesita para tomar una decisión bien informada

y bien pensada. Para ello, hemos propuesto que la primera consulta se lleve a cabo en

noviembre de este año y la segunda consulta a principios del 2013.

 

En los pasados días, líderes del Partido Popular y del Partido Independentista se han

expresado en contra de esta propuesta para consultar al Pueblo sobre este importante

asunto del status. No nos debe sorprender. Es lo que algunos líderes políticos han

hecho en el pasado…hablar y hablar de que debemos resolver este asunto, pero

buscar una excusa para echarse para atrás cuando llega el momento en que se nos

presenta una oportunidad real de resolverlo. Como piensan que no pueden prevalecer,

prefieren darle largas al asunto.

 

Líderes del Partido Popular se quejan de que el Estado Libre Asociado no estará en la

papeleta. ESO NO ES CIERTO. De hecho, el Estado Libre Asociado COMO ESTÁ

AHORA, sin cambios, estará en la segunda consulta. Pero más aún, la libre asociación

soberana, o estado libre asociado soberano—como ellos mismos le llamaron a la

propuesta de status que presentaron en su programa de gobierno en las pasadas

elecciones—estará EN LA PRIMERA CONSULTA. Así que tanto las personas que

quieren el “estado libre asociado soberano” como el Estado Libre Asociado como está

tendrán la oportunidad de votar por la opción que prefieren.

 

Líderes del Partido Popular quieren que hagamos la consulta en una forma en que no

estén representadas ni la independencia ni la libre asociación. Eso no sería justo,

porque no les daría la oportunidad a las personas que prefieren esas alternativas a

votar por ellas.

 

Por su parte, líderes del Partido Independentista quieren que la primera consulta no

sea sobre opciones de status, sino sobre cómo vamos a resolver el status: o con el

voto directo en un plebiscito o en una asamblea de status. La razón es obvia: tienen la

esperanza de que gane la asamblea de status para tratar de lograr en un cuarto oscuro

lo que obviamente no pueden lograr en las urnas. Eso no es una opción, porque sería

una burla a la democracia.

 

Finalmente, líderes de ambos, el Partido Popular y el Partido Independentista, se han

quejado de que en la alternativa que le vamos a presentar al Pueblo hay demasiado

tiempo entre la primera y la segunda consulta. Aunque sería deseable que las dos

consultas ocurrieran más próximas la una de la otra, lo cierto es que el 2012 es un año

de elecciones, en el cual tendremos tres eventos electorales: las primarias de los

partidos locales, las primarias presidenciales de los partidos nacionales y las

elecciones generales en noviembre.

 

A pesar de estos desacuerdos, tenemos que hacer todos los esfuerzos posibles por

lograr consenso entre los partidos políticos en cuanto al proceso que habremos de

 

seguir para resolver este fundamental asunto del status. Al igual que hicimos

recientemente en el tema de la Reforma Electoral, para la cual propicié un proceso de

diálogo que resultó en consenso entre los partidos al respecto de la mayor parte de los

temas que estaban en controversia, estoy confiado que un proceso de diálogo puede

resultar en un consenso que propicie la mayor participación electoral posible en las

consultas en las que habremos de decidir nuestro status político.

 

Para ello, estoy solicitando a los partidos políticos que nombren un representante a un

Comité de Diálogo para que juntos—en un plazo de 30 días—lleven a cabo un esfuerzo

de diálogo en búsqueda de dicho consenso. Hago este llamado al diálogo de la mejor

buena fe, confiado de que el consenso es posible. Ahora bien, que quede bien claro, si

en un plazo de 30 días ese Comité de Diálogo no logra una postura de consenso,

habré de someter la legislación necesaria para que, antes de que finalice el cuatrienio,

llevemos a cabo el primer plebiscito para encaminar de manera definitiva la solución

permanente al problema del status.

Puerto Rico ha esperado demasiado tiempo, y no vamos a permitir que los que

prefieren el inmovilismo y la retranca priven a todo un Pueblo de su derecho a alcanzar

una solución definitiva, no colonial y no territorial, que asegure para nuestros hijos un

futuro de progreso y bienestar.

 

A esos efectos, estamos asignando los recursos necesarios en el presupuesto de este

próximo año fiscal para celebrar dicha consulta ANTES DE QUE TERMINE ESTE

CUATRIENIO. Se lo prometimos al Pueblo y lo vamos a cumplir…porque nosotros

vamos a seguir CUMPLIENDO CON PUERTO RICO.

 

Hermana y hermano puertorriqueño. Ha llegado el momento. Nuestra patria se merece

que sus hijas e hijos respondamos al llamado que nos hace. Puerto Rico ha sido más

que paciente. Lleva décadas esperando por nosotros…pero no puede esperar más. Te

pido que evalúes con seriedad y responsabilidad patriótica la oportunidad que nos

presenta la Casa Blanca en la propuesta que te he presentado para resolver el asunto

del status. Para que finalmente podamos ver el día en que, libres de este obstáculo que

nos divide, caminemos juntos, como una verdadera familia unida, a la gloria que el

Creador tiene reservada para Puerto Rico.

¡Qué Dios los bendiga…y que Dios bendiga a Puerto Rico!

Muchas gracias.

 

United States nationality law

April 11, 2011

United States nationality law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about laws regarding US citizenship. For citizenship in general, see Citizenship in the United States.

The United States flag

Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule ofnaturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, citizenship of the United States. The requirements have become more explicit since the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, with the most recent changes to statutory law having been made by the United States Congress in 2001.

Contents 

[hide]

[edit]Rights and Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens

[edit]Rights of citizens

See also: Voting rights in the United States

Adult citizens of the United States who are residents of one of the 50 states have the right to participate in the political system of the United States, as well as their state and local governments (with most states having restrictions on voting by persons convicted of felonies, and a federal constitutional prohibition on naturalized persons running for President and Vice President of the United States), to be represented and protected abroad by the United States (through U.S. embassies and consulates), and to reside in the United States and certain territories without any immigration requirements.

[edit]Responsibilities of citizens

Some[1] U.S. citizens have the obligation to serve in a jury, if selected and legally qualified. Citizens are also required (under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code) to pay taxes on their total income from all sources worldwide, including income earned abroad while residing abroad. Under certain circumstances, however, U.S. citizens living and working abroad may be able to reduce or eliminate their U.S. federal income tax via the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and/or the Foreign Tax Credit.[2] U.S. taxes payable may be alternatively reduced bycredits for foreign income taxes regardless of the length of stay abroad. The United States Government also insists that U.S. citizens travel into and out of the United States on a U.S. passport, regardless of any other nationality they may possess.

Male U.S. citizens (including those living permanently abroad and/or with dual U.S./other citizenship) are required to register with the Selective Service System at age 18 for possibleconscription into the armed forces. Although no one has been drafted in the U.S. since 1973, draft registration continues for possible reinstatement on some future date.[3]

In the Oath of Citizenship, immigrants becoming naturalized U.S. citizens swear that when required by law they will bear arms on behalf of the United States, will perform noncombatant service in the U.S. Armed Forces, and will perform work of national importance under civilian direction. In some cases, the USCIS allows the oath to be taken without the clauses regarding the first two of these three sworn commitments.[4]

[edit]Acquisition of citizenship

There are various ways a person can acquire United States citizenship, either at birth or later on in life.

[edit]Birth within the United States

Main article: Birthright citizenship in the United States of America

Main article: Jus soli

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “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.”

In the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), the Supreme Court ruled that a person becomes a citizen of the United States at the time of birth, by virtue of the first clause of the 14th Amendment, if that person is:

  • Born in the United States
  • Has parents that are subjects of a foreign power, but not in any diplomatic or official capacity of that foreign power
  • Has parents that have permanent domicile and residence in the United States
  • Has parents that are in the United States for business

The Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled on whether children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents are entitled to birthright citizenship via the 14th Amendment,[5]although it has generally been assumed that they are.[6] A birth certificate (a.k.a Certificate of Live Birth for children born in certain states) issued by a U.S. state or territorial government is evidence of citizenship, and is usually accepted as proof of citizenship.

[edit]Through birth abroad to United States citizens

See also: jus sanguinis

[edit]Birth abroad to two United States citizens

A child is automatically granted citizenship in the following cases:

  1. Both parents were U.S. citizens at the time of the child’s birth
  2. The parents are married
  3. At least one parent lived in the United States prior to the child’s birth. INA 301(c) and INA 301(a)(3) state, “and one of whom has had a residence.”

The FAM (Foreign Affairs Manual) states “no amount of time specified.”

A person’s record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. They may also apply for a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship to have their citizenship recognized.

[edit]Birth abroad to one United States citizen

A person born on or after November 14, 1986, is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true (different rules apply if child was born out-of-wedlock):[7]

  1. The person’s parents were married at time of birth
  2. One of the person’s parents was a U.S. citizen when the person in question was born
  3. The citizen parent lived at least five years in the United States before the child’s birth
  4. A minimum of two of these five years in the United States were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday.

INA 301(g) makes additional provisions to satisfy the physical-presence requirements for periods citizens spent abroad in “honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization”. Additionally citizens who spent time living abroad as the “dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person” in any of the previously mentioned organizations can also be counted.

A person’s record of birth abroad, if registered with a U.S. consulate or embassy, is proof of citizenship. Such a person may also apply for a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship to have a record of citizenship. Such documentation is often useful to prove citizenship in lieu of the availability of an American birth certificate.

Different rules apply for persons born abroad to one U.S. citizen before November 14, 1986. United States law on this subject changed multiple times throughout the twentieth century, and the law is applicable as it existed at the time of the individual’s birth.

For persons born between December 24, 1952 and November 14, 1986, a person is a U.S. citizen if all of the following are true (except if born out-of-wedlock)[7]:

  1. The person’s parents were married at the time of birth
  2. One of the person’s parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was born
  3. The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child’s birth;
  4. A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday.

For persons born out-of-wedlock (mother) if all the following apply:

  1. the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person’s birth and
  2. the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person’s birth.[8] (See link for those born to a U.S. father out-of-wedlock)[7]

[edit]Naturalization

A judge swears in a new citizen. New York, 1910

A person who was not born a U.S. citizen may acquire U.S. citizenship through a process known as naturalization.

[edit]Eligibility for naturalization

To become a naturalized United States citizen, one must be at least eighteen years of age at the time of filing, a legal permanent resident of the United States, and have had a status of a legal permanent resident in the United States for five years before they apply (this requirement is reduced to three years if they (a) acquired legal permanent resident status, (b) have been married to and living with a citizen for the past three years and (c) the spouse has been a U.S. citizen for at least three years prior to the applicant applying for naturalization.) They must have been physically present for at least 30 months of 60 months prior to the date of filing their application. Also during those 60 months if the legal permanent resident was outside of the U.S. for a continuous period of 6 months or more they are disqualified from naturalizing (certain exceptions apply for those continuous periods of six months to 1 year). They must be a “person of good moral character”, and must pass a test on United States history and government[9][10] Most applicants must also have a working knowledge of the English language.[9] There are exceptions, introduced in 1990, for long-resident older applicants and those with mental or physical disabilities.[11][12]

[edit]Citizenship test

Applicants for citizenship are asked ten questions, and must answer at least six with the expected answers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a list of 100 sample questions (with the answers that should be given when taking the test), from which the questions asked are always drawn. The full list of questions is in the “A Guide to Naturalization,” available for free from the USCIS.[13]

[edit]New naturalization test and interview

There is a new naturalization test that is being used for all N-400 applications filed on or after October 1, 2008.[14] If the applicant filed the N-400 application before October 1, 2008 then the applicant may choose to take the new test or the old test. The new test examines the applicant’s knowledge of American society and the English language. Sample questions and answers are published by the USCIS in EnglishSpanishChineseTagalog, and Vietnamese.[15]

Besides passing the citizenship test: citizenship applicants must also satisfy other specific requirements of naturalization to successfully obtain U.S. citizenship.[16]

An applicant will also be required to submit to an in-person interview.

[edit]Eligibility for public office

A person who becomes a U.S. citizen through naturalization is not considered a natural born citizen. Consequently, naturalized U.S. citizens are not eligible to become President of the United States or Vice President of the United States, which would ordinarily be the case as established by the Presidential Succession Act. For example, though the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor are tenth and eleventh in the presidential line of succession, Elaine Chao and Carlos Gutierrez (respectively former U.S. Secretaries of Labor and Commerce under President George W. Bush) would have been unable to succeed to the presidency because they became U.S. citizens through naturalization. The highest-ranking naturalized citizens to have been excluded from the Presidential Line of Succession were Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, each of whom would have been fourth in line asSecretary of State had they been natural born citizens.

Whether this restriction applies to children born to non-U.S. citizens but adopted as minors by U.S. citizens is a matter of some debate, since the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 is ambiguous as to whether acquisition of citizenship by that route is to be regarded as naturalized or natural-born. Those who argue that the restriction does not apply point out that the child automatically becomes a citizen even though violating every single requirement of eligibility for naturalization, and thus the case falls closer to the situation of birth abroad to U.S. citizens than to naturalization. This interpretation is in concert with the wording of the Naturalization Act of 1790, that “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens”, which does not draw a distinction between biological children and adopted children, even though the process of adoption was certainly well known at the time.

Some argue that the phrase “natural born citizen” describes a category of citizenship distinct from that described by the phrase “U.S. Citizen” in Article Two of the United States Constitution, and this was discussed during the constitutional convention of 1787.[17] While it is true that “natural born citizen” is not defined anywhere within the text of the Constitution and that the Constitution makes use of the phrase “citizen” and “natural born citizen,” Supreme Court Decisions from United States v. Wong Kim Ark to the present have considered the distinction to be between natural-born and naturalized citizenship.

Most legal scholars believe that the phrase “natural born citizen” is derived from the works of William Blackstone and depends on the legal doctrine of Jus soli. For example, in her 1988 article in the Yale Law Journal, Jill Pryor wrote, “It is well settled that ‘native-born’ citizens, those born in the United States, qualify as natural born.”[18]

An April 2000 CRS report by the Congressional Research Service, asserts that most constitutional scholars interpret the phrase “natural born citizen” as including citizens born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens under the “natural born” requirement.[19]

Chester Arthur (born of an American mother and Irish father, purported birthplace of Canada) was sworn in as President, however his status as a “Natural born citizen” was challenged because he was born with British citizenship [20] (therefore not jus sanguinis) and it is contended, on foreign soil (therefore not jus soli). Some argue that those born abroad to U.S. citizens are not eligible to ascend to the Presidency (not jus soli), since an act of the United States Congress such as the Naturalization Act may not overrule the Constitution (see“Natural born citizen” as presidential qualification).[21] Presidential candidates George W. Romney (born in Mexico), Barry Goldwater and John McCain (born in U.S. territories), were never seriously challenged on the basis of their “natural born” citizenship, but no candidate falling under this classification has ever actually become President.

[edit]Expeditious naturalization of children

Effective April 1, 1995, a child born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen parent, if not already a citizen by birth because the parent does not meet the residency requirement (see above), may qualify for expeditious naturalization based on the physical presence of the child’s grandparent in the U.S. In general the grandparent should have spent five years in the U.S., at least two of which were after the age of 14.

The process of naturalization, including the oath of allegiance, must be completed before the child’s 18th birthday. It is not necessary for the child to be admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.[22]

[edit]Child Citizenship Act of 2000

Effective February 27, 2001, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provided that a non-U.S. citizen child (aged under 18) with a U.S. citizen parent, and in the custody of that parent, automatically acquired U.S. citizenship. To be eligible, a child must meet the definition of “child” for naturalization purposes under immigration law, and must also meet the following requirements:

  • The child has at least one United States citizen parent (by birth or naturalization)
  • The child is under 18 years of age
  • The child is currently residing permanently in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the United States citizen parent
  • The child has been admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident or has been adjusted to this status
  • An adopted child must also meet the requirements applicable to the particular provision under which they qualified for admission as an adopted child under immigration law

[edit]Dual citizenship

Physicist Albert Einstein receiving his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman in 1940. He also retained his Swiss citizenship.[23]

Based on the U.S. Department of State regulation on dual citizenship (7 FAM 1162), the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that dual citizenship is a “status long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both. The mere fact he asserts the rights of one citizenship does not without more mean that he renouncesthe other,” (Kawakita v. U.S., 343 U.S. 717) (1952). In Schneider v. Rusk 377 U.S. 163 (1964), the US Supreme Court ruled that a naturalized U.S. citizen has the right to return to his native country and to resume his former citizenship, and also to remain a U.S. citizen even if he never returns to the United States.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) neither defines dual citizenship nor takes a position for it or against it. There has been no prohibition against dual citizenship, but some provisions of the INA and earlier U.S. nationality laws were designed to reduce situations in which dual citizenship exists. Although naturalizing citizens are required to undertake an oath renouncing previous allegiances, the oath has never been enforced to require the actual termination of original citizenship.[24]

Although the U.S. Government does not endorse dual citizenship as a matter of policy, it recognizes the existence of dual citizenship and completely tolerates the maintenance of multiple citizenship by U.S. citizens. In the past, claims of other countries on dual-national U.S. citizens sometimes placed them in situations where their obligations to one country were in conflict with the laws of the other. However, as fewer countries require military service and most base other obligations, such as the payment of taxes, on residence and not citizenship, these conflicts have become less frequent. As a result, there has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of people who maintain U.S. citizenship in other countries.

One circumstance where dual citizenship may run counter to expectations of government agencies is in matters of security clearance. Any person granted a Yankee White vetting must be absolutely free of foreign influence, and for other security clearances one of the grounds that may result in a rejected application is an actual or potential conflict of national allegiances.

[edit]Nationals who are not citizens

This article is about United States nationality law. For information regarding United States citizenship, see Citizenship in the United States.

According to 8 U.S.C. § 1408, it is possible to be a U.S. national without being a U.S. citizen. A person whose only connection to the U.S. is through birth in an outlying possession (which as of 2005 is limited to American SamoaSwains Island, and the unincorporated US Minor Outlying Islands), or through descent from a person so born, acquires U.S. nationality but not U.S. citizenship. This was formerly the case in only four other current or former U.S. overseas possessions[25]

Not all U.S. nationals are U.S. citizens; all U.S. citizens are U.S. nationals. The U.S. passport issued to non-citizen nationals contains the endorsement code 9 which states: “THE BEARER IS A UNITED STATES NATIONAL AND NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN.” on the annotations page.[28] Noncitizen U.S. nationals may reside and work in the United States without restrictions, and may apply for citizenship under the same rules as resident aliens.

Like aliens, U.S. nationals who are not citizens are not prevented from voting in state and federal elections by the federal government, but are not allowed by any U.S. state to vote in federal elections.

Further information: Voting rights in the United States, Right of foreigners to vote in the United States

[edit]Citizenship at birth on the U.S. territories and former U.S. territories

Separate sections handle territories that the United States has acquired over time, such as Puerto Rico 8 U.S.C. § 1402, Alaska 8 U.S.C. § 1404, Hawaii 8 U.S.C. § 1405, the U.S. Virgin Islands 8 U.S.C. § 1406, and Guam 8 U.S.C. § 1407. Each of these sections confer citizenship on persons living in these territories as of a certain date, and usually confer native-born status on persons born in those territories after that date.[29]

For example, for Puerto Rico, all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, are automatically conferred citizenship as of the date the law was signed by the President Harry S. Truman on June 27, 1952. Additionally, all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, are native-born citizens of the United States. Note that because of when the law was passed, for some, the native-born status was retroactive. It is also notable that, unlike persons who are born in the United States proper, Puerto Ricans who become U.S. citizens in this manner are statutory citizens, and not Fourteenth Amendment citizens.

The law contains one other section of historical note, concerning the Panama Canal Zone and the nation of Panama. In 8 U.S.C. § 1403, the law states that anyone born in the Canal Zone or in Panama itself, on or after February 26, 1904, to a mother and/or father who is a United States citizen, was “declared” to be a United States citizen.

All persons born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on or after February 25, 1927, are native-born citizens of the United States. The 8 U.S.C. § 1406 also indicate that all the persons and their children born in the U.S. Virgin Islands subsequent to January 17, 1917, and prior to February 25, 1927, are declared to be citizens of the United States as of February 25, 1927 if complied with the U.S. law dispositions.

All persons born in Alaska on or after June 2, 1924, are native-born citizens of the United States. Alaska was declared a U.S. State on January 3, 1959.

All persons born in Hawaii on or after April 30, 1900, are native-born citizens of the United States. Hawaii was declared a U.S. State on August 21, 1959.

All persons born in the island of Guam on or after April 11, 1899 (whether before or after August 1, 1950) subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are declared to be citizens of the United States.

Currently under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) effective from December 24, 1952 to present the definition of the “United States” for nationality purposes, was expanded to add Guam; and, effective November 3, 1986, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (in addition to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States).[30] Persons born in these territories on or after December 24, 1952 acquire U.S. citizenship at birth on the same terms as persons born in other parts of the United States; and “Outlying possessions of the United States” was restricted to American Samoa and Swains Island.[31]

Congressional Research Service Report number RL30527 of April 17, 2000, titled “Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer” asserts that citizens born in GuamPuerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are legally defined as natural born citizens, and are, therefore, also eligible to be elected President.[21]

[edit]Loss of citizenship

As a historical matter, U.S. citizenship could be forfeited upon the undertaking of various acts, including naturalization in a foreign state or service in foreign armed forces. In addition, before 1967 it was possible to lose the citizenship due to voting in foreign elections. However, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the provisions of Section 349(a) which provided for loss of nationality by voting in a foreign election in the case Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253,[32]8 U.S.C. § 1481 specifically outlines how loss of nationality may occur, which predominantly involves willful acts over the age of 18 with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality. U.S. Supreme Court decisions beginning with Afroyim v. Ruskconstitutionally limited the government’s capacity to terminate citizenship to those cases in which an individual engaged in conduct with an intention of abandoning their citizenship.[33]

There are also special provisions for persons who are deemed to have renounced citizenship for purposes of avoiding U.S. taxation (which is, in some cases, applicable on certain income for up to ten years after the official loss of citizenship, Internal Revenue Code, section 877), which in theory can result in loss of right to entry into the United States. However, the loss of right of entry (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(10)(E)[34]) has never been enforced by the Attorney General since its enactment in 1996. Further, since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, the Attorney General (Department of Justice) would no longer be empowered to bar a former U.S. citizen from entering the United States.

No new legislation has modified 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(10)(E) to enable the DHS Secretary to bar a former U.S. citizen from entering the United States. Lastly, IRC section 877 and Revenue Rulings was modified in 2004 to discontinue the practice of the Internal Revenue Service issuing rulings to determine if a former U.S. citizen had a tax-related motive in renouncing U.S. citizenship. Instead, IRC section 877 establishes an objective test to determine if the section 877 regime will apply.

If the former U.S. citizen fails one of these objective tests, for ten years after the individual’s expatriation they are subject to the 877 regime. In practice, given the various modifications since the enactment of 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(10)(E), that the U.S. government has never enforced 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(10)(E) since its inception in 1996, a former U.S. citizen may freely travel to the U.S. subject to normal visa restrictions.

After a U.S. citizen satisfies the Department of State procedures, the Department of State issues a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) signifying that the Department of State has accepted the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s recommendation to allow the renunciation.[35] Renunciation of citizenship includes renunciation of all rights and privileges of citizenship. A person who wants to renounce U.S. citizenship cannot decide to retain some of the privileges of citizenship, as this would be logically inconsistent with the concept of renunciation. Thus, such a person can be said to lack a full understanding of renouncing citizenship and/or lack the necessary intent to renounce citizenship, and the Department of State will not approve a loss of citizenship in such instances.[36]

It is also possible to forfeit U.S. citizenship upon conviction for an act of treason against the United States.[33] Prominent former Nazi officers who acquired American citizenship have also had it revoked if the Office of Special Investigations has been able to prove that the citizenship was obtained by concealing their involvement in war crimes committed by the Nazis inWorld War II.[37][38]

Newt Gingrich Speaks to Wake County GOP, Part 1

April 9, 2011

Paul Ryan and the Politics of Debt

April 5, 2011

US Republicans push deep long-term spending cutsAFP/Getty Images – US Republican Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaks during a news …

By MICHAEL CROWLEY

For months, Washington has talked with growing alarm about the storm clouds of debt gathering over America’s fiscal horizon. Last fall,a bipartisan commission offered its plan for solving the debt crisis. But its recommendations went nowhere, and the talk has gone on ad nauseam. Nobody with any real authority, including President Obama, despite his own exhortations about the urgent need for action, has offered a comprehensive plan to tackle our-long term debt.

That changed today, with the ambitious – though some might say radical, others politically suicidal – new budget proposal from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Ryan’s budget plan is the first real legislative bid in what will be an epic political battle over the country’s long-term fiscal future. Ryan proposes cutting $5.8 trillion from the federal budget over the next 10 years. The plan includes major overhauls of Medicare and Medicaid, a broad reform of the tax code, and reductions in domestic spending (including a modest $78 billion trim to defense spending over 10 years). (See “40 Under 40: The Rising Stars of American Politics.”)

At at a press conference unveiling his plan this morning, Ryan said he was on a “moral imperative” to avert a possible “economic collapse.” And he presented himself as a heroic truth-teller in a city of moral cowards. “For too long, Washington has not been honest with the American people,” Ryan said.

So who is the GOP’s man of the moment? A telegenic supply-side conservative, Ryan cut his teeth as a speechwriter for Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett in the mid-1990s. Even back then, says Pete Wehner, for whom Ryan worked at Empower America, “it was clear that he was a bright star in the constellation.” After serving as legislative director for Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, Ryan mounted a successful bid for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District seat in 1998, at age 28. Now 41, the avid outdoorsman is ensconced in a district that shares his pro-life, pro-gun-rights views, and has ascended to become the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee. “He’s an unabashed policy wonk,” says Mark Green, a fellow Wisconsin Republican and friend who was elected to the House the same year as Ryan. “This is a guy who would take policy papers back to the office with him at night and stay up late looking through them.” See “Twelve for ’12: A Dozen Republicans Who Could Be the Next President.”)

But Ryan’s ideas haven’t always been embraced by his party. In fact, he has been sticking thorns in Congress’s side since he began offering amendments to reduce lawmakers’ pork projects a decade ago. In 2003 he forced Republicans to put free-market reforms in the Medicare prescription-drug program before he and other fiscal conservatives would vote for it. In 2006 he wrote legislation that would give the President line-item veto power – a move lawmakers on both sides have long resisted. In 2007 he called for earmark transparency; two years later, he was seeking a moratorium on the pet giveaways. And at the heart of Ryan’s unconventional thinking was his “Roadmap for America’s Future” – an ambitious 87-page, 75-year plan released last year that served in many ways as the inspiration for Tuesday’s budget proposal. Ryan was crafting this plan for years, but it wasn’t until fiscal politics turned and he rose to the helm of the House Budget Committee that he had enough clout to get his ideas into the mainstream.

Now, the question is how honest the coming debate over the debt crisis will be. Democrats are already counterattacking Ryan’s plan as less an act of budgetary efficiency than a heartless assault on seniors and the poor that largely spares the well-off. Even the tax reforms in Ryan’s plan are revenue neutral, they note, asking nothing more of big business or the wealthy. And though he peddles the idea of honest talk and tough medicine, Ryan sidesteps the politically-fraught topic of Social Security, even though he agrees it is a long-term driver of debt. (Vote for the world’s most influential people in the 2011 TIME 100 Poll.)

The coming debate will also be, in large measure, a re-litigation of Barack Obama’s health care plan. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obama’s plan will save $130 billion over 10 years (estimates vary). If that forecast is accurate, then Obama has already taken a major step towards slashing the national debt. But Ryan simply doesn’t buy that figure, and claims at a press conference unveiling his plan this morning that repealing health care will save $1.5 trillion. That’s a $1.63 trillion dispute – one that won’t easily be reconciled, and one not likely to give us a surplus of the honesty Ryan has called for.

If it goes anywhere at all, Ryan’s plan will first change dramatically. Democrats want no part of it – and the same goes even for many Republicans who may sympathize with the plan’s goals but worry it outpaces the public’s true appetite for deficit-cutting. But Democrats can’t afford to ignore Ryan’s plan completely; they, too, have substantive worries about the debt. And, as President Obama’s own rhetoric demonstrates, they know the public wants some action on this front. So Ryan has, in effect, fired a starting gun today for the great debt battle. Let’s see whether Washington can deliver America an honest and constructive fight.

With Alex Altman and Jay Newton-Small

Newt Gingrich Speaks at Cornerstone 3

April 5, 2011