Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Again ignorance goes beyond History and reality from Another Republican representative. The U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite said that Puerto ricans are foreign Citizens. Does she means Puerto Ricans are not U.S. Citizens?
Apparently she forgot The Jones-Shafroth Act (1917), also known as the "Jones Act" or "Jones Law" for Puerto Rico, amended the "Organic Act of Puerto Rico" created by the Foraker Act of 1900. (This "Jones Act" applies only to Puerto Rico.
This act applies to the grant of citizenship to all citizens of Puerto Rico. The 1917amendments to the "Organic Act of Puerto Rico," amended the Foraker Act of 1900.
Many Puerto Ricans served in the United States Armed Forces beginning in World War I.
The comments by U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite that Puerto Ricans living on the island are “foreign citizens” who should not receive the benefits of the economic stimulus plan that Congress is considering have touched a firestorm.
Even the government of Puerto Rico, a United States territory since 1898 whose people have U.S. citizenship since since 1917, issued what is sort of a reprimand letter to Brown-Waite on Thursday through Eduardo Bhatia, its representative in Washington, D.C.
Bhatia told her: “your comments … published in the Orlando Sentinel complaining that Puerto Ricans are ‘foreign citizens’ and should not benefit from the federal economic stimulus plan were not only wrong but also highly insensitive.”
He wondered if her comments “stemmed from sheer ignorance about Puerto Rico” and listed some helpful facts for the next time Brown-Waite decides to comment on island issues.
“One would assume that someone like you who was born in New York and represents a district in Florida — two states where over 2 million Puerto Ricans reside— would know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and have been U.S. citizens for close to a century,” Bhatia’s letter stated.
Puerto Rican activists in metro Orlando —where the population that traces its heritage to the island surpasses 220,000— are livid. Many have written letters of protest or discussed the matter in the airwaves of the region’s Spanish-language media, even speaking of a protest and offering to teach Brown-Waite some history and geography lessons.
“She is an ignoramus,” said Emilio Pérez, president of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. “I think we should make an example of her. Puerto Ricans should unite to support whoever is running against her in the next election.”
Some activists in the Orlando area were ready to march on Brown-Waite’s office, if necessary, to get her to apologize for what they saw as a disrespectful characterization of all Puerto Ricans.
“Are we going to continue tolerating the constant insults to the Puerto Rican heritage and our rights and responsibilities for this nation?” asked Zulma Vélez Estrada, a Kissimmee activist, in a letter to the community. “Are we going to consent to this nonsense or are we going to stand for our dignity and demonstrate our place in history, and in this community?”
Armando Ramírez, an Osceola activist who had been calling for a protest, said the community would wait before organizing a protest to see if Brown-Waite would apologize.
Sam López, who chairs the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne, said he has heard from many Puerto Ricans willing to participate in a protest. He blames the congresswoman’s comments on anti-Hispanic sentiment that has rubbed off from the immigration debate.
“This is basically a continuation of a Republican Conservative agenda, demeaning Hispanic people,” Lopez said. “