[Article] Puerto Ricans Without Papers

     A basic question comes to my mind in relation with the millions of Puerto Ricans living outside the main island. Are we emigrants or immigrants? I will need to mention that both words are synonyms and have been use for decades to make distinctions between the movement of natives and people from other countries. Puerto Rico’s situation is a special one. Mainly because we are the only Hispanic US territory. Which gave us the best of both worlds.

     Since the Jones Act was signed on 1917 Puerto Ricans became US citizens by birth. Just as any other American within the 50 states; well 48 back then. We can move around, travel and enjoy all the benefits that a dual citizen will normally provided, but only having one (technically). We kept our colonial language, mixed it with our native ‘taínos’ tongue and perfected it with a drop or two of English.

   DSC06091  In other words, we earned our papers collectively. Or at least that is the way I like to look at it. We gave up part of our lands, gave our Indians blood and fought other countries in order to help the development of the USA. In return, we got our national teams, Miss Universe and a great variety of musicians and artists. We gain an invisible spot in their flag and they got another territory full of diversity.

     What they never imagined was that Puerto Ricans are difficult to control and keep quiet. We are small in size, but know how to make noise. With all this questions about immigrations, I have to say Puerto Ricans got the best seats. I am not saying this because I am in favor of the statehood or do not believe in a possible independence. I mentioned it because we took a different road that the rest of the Caribbean  & Latin America and ended up in a privilege spot.

    I am not ignoring many factors that can be detrimental for Puerto Ricans and our culture, but my parents taught me not to talk about politics or religion if I do not feel like opening the door to never ending discussions. I do have to say that recently, a Puerto Rican faced deportation because of his skin color and many other things. Thankfully, he was able to be clear with the help of his mom and an Illinois congressman.

     In fact, as Puerto Ricans, we may face more cases of possible deportations since all of ourbirth certificates will be invalid beginning July 1st. If you are reading this, are Puerto Rican and do not have a passport I will recommend that you request your new certificate as soon as possible. And , if you live in the USA do it faster. I will not recommend you to travel toArizona and speak Spanish there until you have your new certificate.

     As many of you know, we have three main races in our island; Spaniards,  ‘Taíno’ Indiansand Slave Africans. No matter what, each Puerto Rican have a mix of those races with one been predominant. In my case, and  many others, (sometimes can sound like an stereotype) we look more Indian than anything else. Making us look more like our brothers/sisters from Latin America. In other words, if you are not Hispanic, you cannot pick the Puerto Rican out of the bunch.

    Definitely, we can blend everywhere without the worries of being sent back to our country. Even if it is a cheap way to travel back to the island. The important part is always being proud to be Hispanic, Puerto Rican and American. If not, try to get a Puerto Rican citizenship(Puerto Rican passport) those are more difficult to get that the American ones. Why? because we are special!

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