In a strange commentary on the Republican primary held in Puerto Rico on March 6th, one tweet said that candidate Marco Rubio’s win reinforced his “amnesty agenda.”
Puerto Rico sends 23 delegates to the Republican National Convention, the same number as New Hampshire. Since candidates must gain a majority of delegates in order to run in the general election, calling the Puerto Rico primary “insignificant” is inaccurate.
Since the primaries are the only opportunity Puerto Rico’s residents have to vote in presidential elections, it’s also discourteous. Gloating over the fact that his fellow citizens living in Puerto Rico have little voice in the election of their Commander in Chief might even be called tacky.
Rubio objected to amnesty for undocumented aliens in 2010 and in 2013 was one of the sponsors of a bill which laid out a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — not amnesty, but a means of sorting out their legal position without deportation under certain circumstances.
Politifacts described it as “a partial change of position” but determined that Rubio had not supported amnesty.
Now that we have the facts sorted out, let’s look at the really interesting part: the connection of Puerto Rico and amnesty for illegal aliens.
Puerto Ricans are citizens. Everyone born in Puerto Rico since 1917, which probably covers most of the population, has been a natural-born citizen. Puerto Ricans can travel freely around the U.S. without a passport, they use U.S. currency, they serve in the U.S. military, and they pay payroll taxes to the federal government.
If Rubio has a secret “amnesty agenda,” it is not especially meaningful in Puerto Rico.
The Tweet shown above did in fact get a response pointing out that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Matthew Boyle accepted that information and reiterated that the Island has no electoral votes. Not that, as citizens, Puerto Ricans should be able to vote. Not that amnesty for illegal aliens is in fact less relevant in Puerto Rico than in, say, Texas. He just said that campaigning in Puerto Rico was like campaigning in Guatemala. Campaigning in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States inhabited by 3.5 million U.S. citizens, is like campaigning in Guatemala, a foreign country?
It shows that the level of ignorance about Puerto Rico remains high.