Must Puerto Rico Be Incorporated?

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory. This means that Puerto Rico belongs to the United States but is not exactly part of the United States. It is possible for an unincorporated territory to become a state. It is also possible that an unincorporated territory could become an independent nation. And it is also possible, legally, for an unincorporated territory to remain an unincorporated territory forever.

Does Puerto Rico have to be incorporated for statehood?

The short answer is no. California, for example, became a state without ever becoming a territory. Some people feel that California was a de facto territory when Mexico ceded California to the United States in 1848. However, it was never formally incorporated as a territory. California’s population went from about 7,000 people to the required 60,000 in just about a year during the Gold Rush, and California was admitted as a state in 1850.

There is no law and no part of the U.S. Constitution that requires a territory to be incorporated before it can become a state.

Would incorporation be good for Puerto Rico?

It could be good for Puerto Rico to be incorporated. Incorporated territories are understood to be on their way to statehood.

Some have argued that admitting Puerto Rico as an incorporated territory — or agreeing that Puerto Rico is a de facto incorporated territory — would make the path to statehood more clear than it is now.

However, that would add another step to the process. As it stands, there is a statehood bill, HR 4901, already in Congress with 59 cosponsors, both Democratic and Republican. All that is required to make Puerto Rico a state is a majority “yes” vote on this bill.

What about the incorporated territories?

The United States currently has no incorporated territories, except for Palmyra Atoll, an uninhabited, unorganized, incorporated territory.

The incorporated territories which were inhabited and organized have all become states.

It is time for Puerto Rico to become a state, too. Tell your legislators that you want statehood for Puerto Rico.

4 Comments

AA AA

All US territories are part of the USA ( they are under US sovereignty) BUT the UNincorporated territories are NOT considered to be INTEGRAL parts of the US., And the CONSTITUTION of the US applies only PARTIALLY to those territories. To be an UNincorporated territory is to be caught in “limbo” . Although subject to US sovereignty, they are NOT considered part of the US for Certain purposes, but not others. Being an UNicorporated territory allows the current gov of PR to pass laws that are not in the best interest of the local residents while this local residents have no way of protecting themselves – precisely – because of this Status. One could continue to argue back and forth (as it has been argued for the past 120+ years) and get nowhere. The only way to continue on an UNEQUIVOCAL path to Statehood -while genuinely protecting the Constitutional rights of the PR local residents US citizens- is to INcorporate the territory in
Congress. Only congress decides whether a territory is incorporated or unicorporated.
The discussion of PR statehood must include a discipline and genuine answer from congress, free of lobbyist biases. The latter is wishful thinking and probably an utopia in the current political environment. The only way forward is for congress to truly stand behind the very constitution they sweared to defend, AND FOR THE US citizens of PR – to truly understand the privilege and responsibility of being a US citizen. Neither PR nor the US congress can continue to have it both ways. For those of us who truly believe the best way forward for PR is Statehood, incorporating PR should be a TOP priority.

Reply
DENNIS O. FREYTES

**Puerto Rico’s Unincorporated Status is wrong**
“The Federal Government should be the SERVANT of ALL “We the People”; not the MASTER of some (Puerto Ricans)!”
The US Supreme Court, in the infamous, discriminatory and racist Insular Cases (1901 Downes vs Bidwell; 1922- Balzac vs PR) determined that Puerto Rico was an “unincorporated”; more foreign than domestic; belonged to but, is not part of the US…! These Terms don’t exist in the US Constitution, but, allow—US Congress can broadly “discriminate” in applying the US Constitution to Puerto Ricans! TODAY, we own our US Constitution with amendments! Puerto Ricans are part of “WE THE PEOPLE”!
ALL US Citizens ( “WE THE PEOPLE”) should have–FAIR Treatment-Equal Rights in our US Republic (a Government by and for the People) with Representative Democracy-Federal Consent of the Governed, per Declaration of Independence, and US Constitution!! The US Supreme Court should revoke these discriminatory Cases, like they revoked Plessy vs Fergusson (Blacks are EQUAL but SEPARATE) with Brown vs Board of Education.
Our fight for EQUALITY-a just cause needs to be fought in all Three Federal Branches: US Supreme Court; US Congress; US President!
Plus, the Governor of Puerto Rico with the PR Department of Justice should STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE– take a lead; present Equality Class Action Legal Suites; file complaints…
FIX ROOTS- The Federal Government should do its DUTY-provide FAIR TREATMENT-EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE” (not just some)! Take CONCURRENT ACTION to Fix, with PR’s Government,– the
“Economic-Jobs; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Social; Status-Equality-Crisis”
• US Supreme Court: Revoke unjust-discriminatory “Insular Cases” (1901-1925+)-support Equal Rights.
• US CONGRESS/ PRESIDENT: GRANT PR STATEHOOD (pass HR4901-incorporate)–admit fellow loyal US Citizens-US Veterans– to our “UNION of STATES” with OWN– STATE PR Identity; Constitution; Flag; and Sovereignty as other STATES have! ALL UNITED- under our US Constitution-noble US Flag-that represents ALL the PEOPLE-States and Territories.
**Alternative–do Referendum on NON-Territorial Constitutional defined Options, which only are:
STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE or INDEPENDENCE w/ PACT of “Free Association.
Best Option: EQUALITY + PROGRESS = STATEHOOD with DIGNITY!
WE must “Guard against a Tyranny of a Majority”!
*ASK POLITICIAN–Will you support FAIRNESS-EQUAL RIGHTS; END undemocratic Federal control and discrimination (since 1898-over 122+ years) in US Territory of Puerto Rico (with more US Citizens-American Veterans than 22 States) through admittance to the “UNION of STATES (Statehood)?
**OR do a binding Referendum with defined non-Territorial (Colonial) options: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (with or without PACT of Free Association)?
**You can’t have it both ways; you are either for Equality or support or excuse Federal discrimination!
CONTACT: MEDIA; US President and US Congress (DO: Resolutions; Emails; Letters; Forums; Town Halls…) Speak-up for Right! *Don’t only put Band-Aids on the grave Puerto Rican Crisis (since 1898), but, FIX it!
• US Congress: https://contactingcongress.org/
• US President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Reply
DENNIS O. FREYTES

**Puerto Rico’s Unincorporated Status is wrong**
“The Federal Government should be the SERVANT of ALL “We the People”; not the MASTER of some (Puerto Ricans)!”
The US Supreme Court, in the infamous, discriminatory and racist Insular Cases (1901 Downes vs Bidwell; 1922- Balzac vs PR) determined that Puerto Rico was an “unincorporated”; more foreign than domestic; belonged to but, is not part of the US…! These Terms don’t exist in the US Constitution, but, allow—US Congress can broadly “discriminate” in applying the US Constitution to Puerto Ricans!
HOW CAN US CITIZENS-AMERICAN VETERANS be FOREIGN under our noble US Flag? TODAY, we own our US Constitution with amendments! Puerto Ricans are part of “WE THE PEOPLE”!
ALL US Citizens ( “WE THE PEOPLE”) should have–FAIR Treatment-Equal Rights in our US Republic (a Government by and for the People) with Representative Democracy-Federal Consent of the Governed, per Declaration of Independence, and US Constitution!! The US Supreme Court should revoke these discriminatory Cases, like they revoked Plessy vs Fergusson (Blacks are EQUAL but SEPARATE) with Brown vs Board of Education.
Our fight for EQUALITY-a just cause needs to be fought in all Three Federal Branches: US Supreme Court; US Congress; US President!
Plus, the Governor of Puerto Rico with the PR Department of Justice should STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE– take a lead; present Equality Class Action Legal Suites; file complaints…
FIX ROOTS- The Federal Government should do its DUTY-provide FAIR TREATMENT-EQUAL RIGHTS for ALL “WE THE PEOPLE” (not just some)! Take CONCURRENT ACTION to Fix, with PR’s Government,– the
“Economic-Jobs; Fiscal; Infrastructure; Social; Status-Equality-Crisis”
• US Supreme Court: Revoke unjust-discriminatory “Insular Cases” (1901-1925+)-support Equal Rights.
• US CONGRESS/ PRESIDENT: GRANT PR STATEHOOD (pass HR4901-incorporate)–admit fellow loyal US Citizens-US Veterans– to our “UNION of STATES” with OWN– STATE PR Identity; Constitution; Flag; and Sovereignty as other STATES have! ALL UNITED- under our US Constitution-noble US Flag-that represents ALL the PEOPLE-States and Territories.
**Alternative–do Referendum on NON-Territorial Constitutional defined Options, which only are:
STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE or INDEPENDENCE w/ PACT of “Free Association.
Best Option: EQUALITY + PROGRESS = STATEHOOD with DIGNITY!
WE must “Guard against a Tyranny of a Majority”!
*ASK POLITICIAN–Will you support FAIRNESS-EQUAL RIGHTS; END undemocratic Federal control and discrimination (since 1898-over 122+ years) in US Territory of Puerto Rico (with more US Citizens-American Veterans than 22 States) through admittance to the “UNION of STATES (Statehood)?
**OR do a binding Referendum with defined non-Territorial (Colonial) options: STATEHOOD vs INDEPENDENCE (with or without PACT of Free Association)?
**You can’t have it both ways; you are either for Equality or support or excuse Federal discrimination!
CONTACT: MEDIA; US President and US Congress (DO: Resolutions; Emails; Letters; Forums; Town Halls…) Speak-up for Right! *Don’t only put Band-Aids on the grave Puerto Rican Crisis (since 1898), but, FIX it!
• US Congress: https://contactingcongress.org/
US President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Reply
ENRIQUE LABRADOR

Dennis,
I would love Puerto Rico to become a state of the USA but this will never happen. The majority of both parties will vote against allowing a small island in the Caribbean to have more representation than most of the states in the continental United States territory.

Reply

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