Aumua supports self-determination for Puerto Rico
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular & Alaska Native Affairs conducted a hearing in Washington last week entitled, Examining Procedures Regarding Puerto Rico’s Political Status and Economic Outlook.
The purpose of this oversight hearing was to discuss the relationship between the current economic crisis gripping the island and the unresolved issue of political status. The discussion featured two separate panels consisting of former Governors and other high-ranking Puerto Rican Officials, both past and present.
While the focus of the hearing was intended to concentrate on the relationship between Puerto Rico’s uncertain political status and its effect on the territory’s economy; the discussion for the most part centered specifically with simply the political status of the island.
Congresswoman Aumua Amata said, “Anytime one of our fellow territories speaks out for their own self-determination, I will be there by their side to support them. We can no longer tolerate the onus of cultural imperialism at the expense of our own people. I will always side with those people who believe that it is their own will and determination that should decide their future in regards to political status and not that of the U.S. Courts.”
During the hearing, Amata addressed former Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, regarding a recent decision by U.S. Courts in regards to the political status of American Samoan U.S. Nationals and the implications it has on the political status of Puerto Rico’s citizens.
“A federal court of appeals just rejected the argument lawyers made in a case claiming the national citizenship clause in the Constitution applies in American Samoa and all other unincorporated US territories,” stated Amata.
“So once again the courts have confirmed that U.S. nationals in American Samoa and U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico and the other three unincorporated territories are forced to relocate to a state of the union to secure full and equal rights and duties of US citizenship. That means full and equal rights of national citizenship, including the fundamental right of government by consent through voting rights in federal elections, are guaranteed only through citizenship in a state rather than a territory. So for residents of all five unincorporated territories who don't move to a state, the status of a US national in American Samoa and a US citizen in a territory is constitutionally the same, with only those rights under the Constitution and federal law confirmed by Congress in federal statutes enacted under the territorial power,” concluded Amata.